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VOL. I. 

VOL. I. 













VOL. I. 






During the time in which men, eminent for their literary, 
diplomatic, or military talents flourish, the Public is rarely 
led to examine by what slow gradations their powers became 
matured ; or what evidence their infancy and youth afforded 
of that high celebrity which they afterwards attained. 

The great utility of their literary labours, or the splendour 
of their public services, occupies and dazzles the mind, so 
that all minor considerations become absorbed ; and it is 
only when the public is deprived by death of such illustrious 
characters, that posterity feel disposed to trace them up to 
their earliest period ; and inquire by what means these lumi- 
naries, so small at their rising, attained to such a meridian, 
of usefulness and glory, and appeared so broad and resplend- 
ent at their setting. 

This is equally the case both with states and men : henci- 
the historian as well as the biographer, influenced by the 
maxim, — Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas, endea- 
vours to investigate those philosophic and intellectual prin- 
ciples which gave birth and being to such physical, political 
and mental energies. 


That Divine ^Providence, which arranges and conducts 
the whole, and under whose especial guidance and control 
the course of the present state is ordered, so that all opera- 
tions in the natural, civil, and moral world issue in mani- 
festing the glory, justice, and mercy of the Supreme Being, 
lies farther out of the view of men, and by most is little 
regarded : hence a multitude of events appear to have either 
no intelligent cause, or none adequate to their production ; 
and because the operations of the divine hand are not re- 
garded, historians and biographers often disquiet themselves 
in vaiu to find out the causes and reasons of the circum- 
stances and transactions which they record. 

In the dispensations of mercy to the world, and the effects 
produced by them, the principles from which all originated, 
the agencies employed, and the mode of working, are still 
more difficult of apprehension, particularly to those minds 
which regard earthly things, and see nothing in the natural 
and moral world but general laws, of which they do not ap- 
pear to have any very distinct view; and which never can 
account for the endlessly varied occurrences in a single 
human life, much less in a state, and still less in the govern- 
ment of the church. By the government of the church, I 
mean the continuation of that energetic and supernatural 
principle by which pure and undefiled religion, consisting 
in piety to God and benevolence to man, is maintained in 
the earth. There has been an unhappy propensity in all 
times to deny the existence of this principle, and its opera- 
tions on the minds and hearts of men ; and this has been 
the fruitful source both of irreligion and false doctrine : and 
hence the church of God often feels the necessity of con- 
tending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. 

The fool hath, said in his heart, There is no God. This 
has a greater extension of meaning than is generally al- 
lowed : it does not merely apply to the denial of the 


existence of one Supreme Being, but also to his influences 
and operations, even where his being is allowed. When 
moral effects, the purest, the most distinguished, and the 
most beneficial to society, are attributed to natural causes, 
human passions, and the inquietudes of vanity, and not to 
the Author of all good, the Father of lights, then we may 
safely assert, that the person who so views them is one of 
those unwise men of whom the Psalmist speaks. He ex- 
cludes God from his own peculiar work ; gives to nature 
what belongs to grace ; to human passions, what belongs to 
the Divine Spirit ; and to secondary causes what must 
necessarily spring from the First Cause of all things. 

Were not the subject too grave, it would be sufficient to 
excite something more than a smile, to see men both of 
abilities and learning, in their discussion of spiritual sub- 
jects which the}- have never thoroughly examined, because 
they have never experimentally felt them, labour to account 
for all the phenomena of repentance, faith, and holiness, by 
excluding the Spirit of God from his own proper work ; and 
to the discredit of their understanding, and the dishonour 
of religion and sound philosophy, search for the principle 
that produces love to God and all mankind, with all the 
fruits of a holy life, in some of the worst passions of the 
human heart. 

In reference to a great and manifest revival of religion in 
the land we have heard the following concessions : — 

" It is granted (say such men) that multitudes of the 
most profligate of the people have been morally changed ; 
and, from being a curse to their respective neighbour- 
hoods, have become a blessing to the whole circle of their 
acquaintance ; the best of servants, sons, and husbands ; 
obedient subjects to the .state, and a credit to humanity." 
But how was this change effected ? " Why," say they, 
"by the persuasive arguments of a powerful orator ; who, 


to the love of power and the lust of ambition, added ex- 
traordinary address, and general benevolence. With a 
strong tincture of enthusiasm in himself, which found a 
tractable disposition in the fanaticism of the age, and the 
credulity of the common people ; he succeeded in raising, 
organizing, and rendering permanent, a society of increasing 
influence and importance ; the principles, of which deserve 
the investigation of the statesman and the philosopher, and 
their economy and progress the pen of the historian." 

Thus, the good done is reluctantly acknowledged ; while 
the cause of it is either entirely unnoticed, or unknown. 
A fountain is pointed out which produces sweet waters and 
bitter; brambles which produce figs, and thorns which 
produce grapes : or, in other words, that work which 
neither might nor power, but the Spirit of the Lord of hosts 
alone can effect, is attributed to a certain mechanical ope- 
ration on the minds of the multitude, by the agency of 
worldly ambition, lust of power, self-interest, and hy- 
pocrisy ! 

Thus has the world been often abused in reference to the 
work of God by ignorant, irreligious, and prejudiced men, 
from the foundation of Christianity to the present time; 
but never more, and never more grossly, than in relation to 
the Rev. John Wesley, and that great revival of scriptural 
Christianity which it has pleased the world to call 
Methodism, and the subjects of which it terms Methodists ; 
appellatives which the members of that religious Society 
bear, not because they have either chosen or approved of 
them, but because the public will have it so. 

The fame of Mr. Wesley's labours, writings, and success 
in the ministry, has reached most parts of the habitable 
globe ; and wherever his name has been heard, a desire has 
very naturally been excited to know something of his 
origin and personal history, and of the rise and progress of 


that work of which he was, under God, the author, and for 
more than half a century the great superintendant and con- 
ductor. To meet this desire, various Lives and Memoirs, 
possessing different degrees of merit and accuracy, have 
been published ; but in most cases by authors either ill- 
informed, or prejudiced. To sortie of those writers Mr. 
Wesley was never personally known, and they were 
obliged to collect their information from such quarters as 
were but ill calculated to give what was correct ; by others, 
the whole system of Methodism was misunderstood; and 
no wonder if by them it were misrepresented. Most of 
the narratives referred to were published shortly after Mr. 
Wesley's death, before the great principles, both religious 
and economical, of Methodism, could have been put to that 
full and extensive test to which they have since been 
subjected : and hence the Methodists' Conference have 
been led to determine that the present matured state of 
this great work, and the beneficent operation of those prin- 
ciples, should be brought before the public, exhibited in 
their own light ; and that a new history of the founder of 
Methodism should be compiled from original documents, 
many of which had not been seen by his previous biographers ; 
the whole being intended to give a correct view of his cha- 
racter and labours in connexion with the present matured 
state of that work of which the Most High God had made 
him the chief instrument. The compiler of the present 
work was requested by the Conference in 1821 to undertake 
this task. With oppressive feelings, from a deep sense of 
his own unfitness, he reluctantly acceded, and began to 
collect and arrange his materials. While thus employed, a 
number of documents relative to the Wesley Family pre- 
sented themselves to view; and as some hinderances were 
unexpectedly found to exist, which prevented the writer 
from proceeding with the Life of Mr. John Wesley, and 


that of his brother Charles, the companion of his early 
labours, he was induced to turn his attention to the few re- 
maining memorials of the Wesley Family, principally in his 
own possession, which time was every moment rendering 
less and less perfect and legible ; many of which had been 
badly kept while passing through hands that had little in- 
terest in their preservation. To render these as complete 
as the circumstances of the case would admit, great pains 
were taken to collect from the few remaining contempora- 
ries of the Wesley Family, and their immediate descendants, 
every authentic anecdote that had been preserved of the 
original stock and collateral branches of this wondrous tree, 
whose shade has been extended over various parts of the 
globe, and under which fowl of every wing have been col- 
lected, and found shelter. Had this work been undertaken 
even thirty years ago, the result would have been much 
more satisfactory ; as at that time many were alive who had 
seen the cloud arise, and could have supplied the most 
useful information. But regrets relative to this are vain — 
these are all dead : fourscore and eight years were sufficient 
to have swept off all those who had entered into life when 
God began to pour out his Spirit to produce that reforma- 
tion in the land which has been since termed - Methodism ; 
and more than sufficient to gather into eternal habitations 
those who had been the original subjects and witnesses of 
this blessed work. 

As to the original family, it is most probable that few 
memorials remain, except those preserved in the following 
sheets. These cannot be unacceptable to the Methodists, 
nor uninteresting to the religious public : and both will 
possibly join in thankfulness for what has been done, and in 
candidly passing over any inadvertencies or mistakes which 
they may discover in the work. 

If it bear the marks of haste and carelessness, the reader 


may rest assured that none of these either prevailed or 
existed in the course of this undertaking : long-continued 
labour precluded haste, and deep anxiety to be accurate 
and useful precluded carelessness. But whoever considers 
the difficulty of not only collecting, but of arranging, bits 
and scraps, verbal communications and items, from a thou- 
sand different quarters, will not wonder should they find a 
few mistakes ; and in various parts an inadequacy of com- 
position, should that approach even to a flatness of diction 
and poverty of language. 

To those for whose use these memoirs were chiefly in- 
tended, it will be no matter of surprise that the writer 
should appear the constant advocate of Methodism, the 
admirer of its doctrines and discipline, and also of the 
means emplo3 r ed in its propagation. 

But while he adores the grace of God, which has pro- 
duced those wondrous and beneficent results which have 
fallen under his own notice for more than half a century, he 
hopes that it will not be supposed that he is hostile to any 
person who thinks differently from himself on this subject; 
and much less to any body of Christians whose creed may 
be in any respect different from his own. He sincerely 
wishes them all God's speed ; and is thankful to God when 
he sees the interests of genuine Christianity promoted, 
though by persons who follow not with him. 

To all those who have contributed original documents 
and other information for the use of these Memoirs, he 
returns his best thanks: but here he should acknowledge 
that he stands chiefly indebted to his late excellent friend, 
Miss Sarah Wesley; to the papers of the venerable and 
Rev. Thomas Stedman, late vicar of St. Chad's, Shrewsbury; 
to the Rev. James Everett, of Manchester; to Miss Sharp, 
sister to the late Granville Sharp, Esq., from whom he 
received those important letters, out of the correspondence 


of her Right Reverend grandfather, the Archbishop of York, 
that have thrown so much light on the circumstances and 
early history of the rector of Epworth ; and especially to 
Thomas Marriott, Esq., London, who has spared neither 
time nor pains, in making various well-directed and suc- 
cessful researches, in reference to facts and circumstances 
which have contributed so much both to enlarge and enrich 
the present edition. ' 



Families have frequently their names from towns, 
villages, and hamlets; and I therefore give what Hutchins 
has advanced in the note below.* My own opinion, 
however, is, that of the origin of the family name, little 
is known ; and of the very remote ancestors of Mr. 
Wesley the records appear to be lost. Of those who 
were more immediate, some facts have survived the 

* There is a " hamlet in Broadwinsor called Wansley, Wantsley, 
Wantsleigh, and Wanslew." — Hutchins, pp. 467 — 607, 608, vol. 
L, edit, ii., 1796. 

" Twenty acres of land in Hook, called West Leas," p. 495, 


" George Westley, 18th May, 1403, Treasurer of Sarum ; 1404, 

Prebendary of Bedminster and Radeclyve." — 

Hutch., p. 430. 
" John Westley, Batch, in Degrees, inst. 27th Sept., 1481, parish 

of Langton Matravers." — Hutch., p. 340. 
" John Wannesleigh, CI. on the resignation of John Crokke, inst. 

6th Feb., 1497 ; Rector of Bettescombe."— 

Hutch., p. 564. 
" John Wennesley, Chapl. of Pillesdon, on the death of John 

Mangey, inst. 12th Feb., 1508."— Hutch., p. 


In the list of Bailiffs and Cofferers for Bndport, stand, A. D. 
1691, " James Crabb, James Westley." — Hutch., p. 393. 


general loss* of original documents ; and these, though 
scanty, are so singular and characteristic, Jhat it would 
he injustice to the general narrative to withhold them 
from the reader. 

That the progenitors of the Wesleys came from Saxony 
was believed by the family itself; and that a branch of 
the paternal tree was planted in Ireland was also cre- 
dited by them. 

About forty-five years ago, I met with a family in 
the county of Antrim in that kingdom, of the name of 
Posley, or Postley ; who said that their name was ori- 
ginally Wesley, but that it had been corrupted by a pro- 
vincial pronunciation of P for W. 

Whether it were the same family with the Wesleys of 
Dangan, in the county of Meath, in Ireland, that were 
called Posley, I cannot tell ; but a gentleman there of 
considerable estate, whose family had come from England 
and settled in Ireland, several generations before that 
time, wrote to Samuel Wesley, sen., that if he had a son 
called Charles, he would adopt him for his heir ; and at 
the expense of this gentleman, Charles was actually sent 
to Westminster school, and had his bills regularly dis- 
charged by this unknown friend. But when the gen- 
tleman wished to take him over to Ireland, Charles 
thankfully refused; fearing lest worldly prosperity and 
its consequences might lead away his heart from due 
attention to his eternal interests. 

The person whom Wesley of Dangan made his heir, 
and who consequently took the name of Wesley, was 
Richard Colley of Dublin, who afterwards became the 
first Earl of Mornington, and was grandfather to the 
Marquis Wellesley and the Duke of Wellington. Wel- 
lesley is therefore a corruption, and an awkward one — 
made by the present Marquis at the time of his creation 


to this title in 1797 — of the simple and more elegant 
name, Wesley. 

If the name were originally Spanish, as some have 
supposed, it must have undergone a change not less con- 
siderable, from b or v, to w ; as this double consonant is 
not found in any words in the Spanish language. Were 
we to consult the Arabic tongue, which so long pre- 
vailed in that country, and which has entered into the 
composition of so many Spanish words, we might find 
the name with a peculiar and very significant import. 
Ajo* wesley and aJjo, weslah signify union and con- 
junction, from the root V*s« reasala, he united, joined, 
conjoined, associated ; was near, or contiguous ; was 
united in a bond of friendship, &c. 

It may be thought worthy of remark that V^, wadi 
and &XaoL wasleh are proper names among the Arabians; 
and a noted person among them, mentioned by Firooza- 
bad bore the name of XioAS ±j) abo al wadi, or alool 
wadi, the father of union, or the uniting father. A 
name more happy or appropriate could not possibly be 
given to the founder of Methodism. I need not inform 
the learned reader that the grammatical note ~ called 
*Ju9) weslah, which signifies union or junction, is often 

found on the letter 1 alif, and indicates that the vowel 
which terminates the preceding is to be connected with 

that which follows, e.g., ^JUM < J.» &$> olmaliM, 

" the heart of the king." 

The information that the family of the Wesleys came 
originally from Spain, in which multitudes of Arab 
families were long settled, has led me into this discussion 
of the name ; which the reader will pardon, provided he 
can turn it to no advantage ; for I am ready enough to 
grant that the etymology may be considered precarious 
b 2 


as long as we cannot trace the family in a direct line to 
an Arabic or Moorish origin. 

That some of the family had been in the Crusades, or 
had gone on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, may be 
inferred from their bearing the escallop shell in their 
arms. The bearing is gules, three escallops argent, crest 
a wiveron. 

The orthography of the name is not more certain ; — 
it has been written Westley, and Wesley ; and it appears 
from the Irish family mentioned above, Postley and 
Posley : but by the autographs of all the family, from 
the rector of Epworth down to the present time, I find 
the name invariably written W-e-s-l-e-y. 

There are several families of this name in England, 
and some of them very ancient. In the Bibl. Harl., 
No. 1241, p. 135, I find Edward Westley, of Westley, in 
the reign of Edward I., who married Jane, daughter 
and heir to John Moore, of AVolverton ; who had issue, 
William Westley, who married Cicely, daughter to Roger, 
son to Hugh Hagger, Knight ; who had issue, John 
Westley, who married Margaret, daughter and heir to 
John Brailes. This John took the name of Porterr, and 
had issue John Porterr, who married Gwer, daughter 
and heir to David ap Bods Goch. After this, the name 
is lost in that of Porter. 

When Mr. Samuel Wesley, sen. entered himself at 
Exeter college, Oxford, in the year 1684, he signed him- 
self Samuel Westley ; but he himself afterwards dropped 
the t, which he said was restoring the name to its original 

* Hutchins has it Westley, Westly, Wesly. Westley is the name 
given also by Baxter, in his " Life," by Wood, in the " Athens 
Oxon.;" and by Calamy, "Continuation." 


As, through the Act of Uniformity passed in 1662, 
some of Mr. Wesley's more remote ancestors suffered 
greatly, being conscientious nonconformists, it -will be 
necessary, before I proceed in their history, to give some 
account of that act, its influence and consequences. 

No reader of English history can be unacquainted with 
the troubles relative to religion which took place in the 
unhappy reign of Charles I., by which the kingdom was 
severely agitated, and the existence of genuine piety 
threatened with total ruin. 

The nation was divided, both in politics and religion, 
between the Church and the Dissenters; or perhaps, 
more properly, between Episcopacy and Presbyterianism : 
the former contending for unlimited or absolute mo- 
narchy in the state, and episcopacy in the church ; the 
latter strongly intent on the establishment of a limited 
monarchy in the state, and church government either by 
presbyters solely, or by a union of presbyters and bishops. 

But though this description be generally true of the 
parties denominated as above, yet there were many ex- 
ceptions among individuals of sound sense and learning 
on both sides. 

Many conscientious and eminent churchmen saw and 
inveighed against the danger of carrying prerogative too 
far, and wished to promote such measures in ecclesiastical 
matters as might unite and cement in one body all the 
faithful of the land. 

Among the Dissenters many were found, especially 
during the civil wars and the protectorate of Oliver 
Cromwell, who wished to establish republicanism in the 
state and presbyterianism in the church. But the many 
on both sides endeavoured to push on their own princi- 
ples of civil and ecclesiastical government to their utmost 
consequences. Moderation was considered indecision, 
b 3 


half-heartedness, and temporizing, by one party; and 
hypocrisy, disloyalty, and treachery by the other. Medio 
tutissirrms ibis, "the golden mean is best," was no common 
adage in those days ; and division in politics and religion 
produced suspicion and enmity; and soon, variance, 
hatred, and malice lighted up the flames of a civil war. 

The king seemed to think that the royal prerogative 
was omnipotent. The parliament withstood his encroach- 
ments on the liberties of the subject ; each side had 
numerous partisans. They at last took the field ; and a 
long, most unnatural, and sanguinary war terminated in 
the total overthrow of the royal party ; the capture, trial, 
condemnation, and death of the king himself, who was 
beheaded, January 30th, 1649. 

By this dreadful issue, monarchical government and 
the House of Lords were abolished ; the episcopal hier- 
archy overturned ; and a species of aristocratical repub- 
licanism, under the name of the Commonwealth of 
England, established in the state; of which the most 
able and successful of the King's enemies, Oliver Crom- 
well, was ultimately declared the Protector. 

On the death of this powerful chief, who ruled in the 
professed republic with nearly the same authority that 
an Asiatic despot rules his states ; and who, by his coun- 
sels, fleets, and armies, rendered the British name for- 
midable throughout Europe ; the nation, far from being 
satisfied with the new form of government, torn by many 
dissensions, and smarting with its recent wounds, looked 
to the restoration of its monarchy as the only means of 
healing its distractions and restoring public confidence ; 
and was glad to invite back from his exile Charles, the 
late king's son; who without difficulty or contest ascended 
the paternal throne, May 29, 1660, after the nation had 
suffered an interregnum of eleven years. 


As the presbyterians and independents, had a con- 
siderable share in the restoration of the king, with which 
circumstance he was not unacquainted, and the episcopal 
party seemed little inclined to form any kind of union 
with their dissenting brethren, but rather to establish a 
religious intolerance, the dissenters applied to the king 
for some concessions in their favour, chiefly in respect to 
a free and full toleration in the exercise of their public 
ministry ; and hoped that he would order such a reform 
in the liturgy that they might be able to use it with a 
good conscience ; or, if not altered to their wishes, that 
they might not be obliged to use it without having a 
discretionary power to omit or alter such things as their 
conscience could not approve, because they appeared to 
be either contrary to the Holy Scriptures, or to savour 
too much of popish superstition. 

In these things they were encouraged to expect the 
king's ready concurrence, because, in his letters and de- 
claration sent from Breda, April 14th, 1660, he had ex- 
pressed a strong desire to discountenance all profaneness 
and persecution, and to endeavour a happy composing of 
the differences and healing the breaches made in the 
church. " And because," adds the declaration, " the 
passion and uncharitableness of the times have produced 
several opinions in religion, by which men are engaged 
in parties and animosities against each other ; which, 
when they shall hereafter unite in a freedom of conver- 
sation, will be composed, or better understood; we do 
declare a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man 
shall be disquieted or called in question for differences of 
opinion in matters of religion which do not disturb the 
peace of the kingdom ; and that we shall be ready to 
consent to such an act of parliament, as upon mature 


deliberation stall be offered unto us, for the full granting 
that indulgence."* 

And he had in his conferences with them fully de- 
clared his mind, that none of them should suffer on 
account of not using the Common Prayer ; nor for the 
omission of the religious ceremonies there prescribed. ... 

In consequence of these declarations, the ministers of 
the presbyterian persuasion drew up two papers contain- 
ing proposals relative to " the discipline and ceremonies 
of the Church of England," which they humbly pre- 
sented to the king. 

The first paper contains only general matters, and is a 
sort of introductory preface to the second. In this they 
earnestly petition his Majesty to grant, — 

1. That private exercises of piety may be encouraged. 

2. That an able faithful ministry may be kept up ; 
and the insufficient, negligent, non-resident, and 
scandalous cast out. 

3. That a credible profession of faith and obedience 
be pre-required of communicants. 

4. That the Lord's-day may be appropriated to holy 
exercises, without unnecessary divertisements. 

After these requests, they enter at large into the ques- 
tions relative to discipline, ceremonies, and the Liturgy. 

On this the king issued a commission, dated March 
25th, 1661, appointing an equal number of divines and 
learned men on both sides, to review and revise the 
Liturgy ; and to take all other matters into consideration, 
which had been the cause of dispute; and to report 
upon them. 

The commissioners nominated by the king, and who 
* Keonett. 


were appointed to meet at the Savoy, were the fol- 
lowing : — 

Churchmen : Acceptus Frewen, Archbishop of York ; 
Gilbert Sheldon, Bishop of London ; John Cosin, Bishop 
of Durham ; John Younge, Bishop of Rochester ; Hum- 
phrey Henchman, Bishop of Sarum; George Morley, 
Bishop of Winchester ; Robert Sanderson, Bishop of 
Lincoln ; Benjamin Lanay, Bishop of Peterborough ; 
Brian Walton, Bishop of Chester; Richard Sterne, Bi- 
shop of Carlisle ; John Gauden, Bishop of Exeter ; and 
Edward Reynolds, Bishop of Norwich. 

Dissenters : Anthony Tuckney, D. D. ; John Conant, 
D. D. ; William Spurston, D. D. ; John Wallis, D. D. ; 
Thomas Manton, D.D.; Edmund Calamy, B.D. ; Richard 
Baxter, Clerk; Arthur Jackson, Thomas Case, Samuel 
Clarke, Matthew Newcomen, Clerks. 

Proxies for the Churchmen : Dr. Earles, Dean of 
Westminster ; Peter Heylen, D. D. ; John Hacket, D. D. ; 
John Berwick, D. D. ; Peter Gunning, D. D. ; John 
Pearson, D. D. ; Thomas Pierce ; Anthony Sparrow ; 
Herbert Thorndyke, D. D. 

Proxies for the Dissenters : Thomas Horton, D. D. ; 
Thomas Jacomb, D. D. ; William Bate, John Rawlinson, 
Clerks ; William Cooper, Clerk ; Dr. John Lightfoot ; 
Dr. John Collings ; Dr. Benjamin Woodbridg ; and 
William Drake, Clerk. 

The first list, containing eleven Bishops, with the 
Archbishop of York; and the second list, containing 
eleven Dissenters, are properly the Commissioners to try 
this cause. The third list, beginning with Dr. Earles 
and ending with Dr. Thorndyke, was a list of reserve, to 
supply the place of any of the Bishops, absent or ill. 
And the fourth list beginning with Dr. Thomas Horton, 
and ending with William Drake, was a similar list to 


supply the place of any absent Dissenters. Thus we find 
the commissioners were fairly divided, — eleven Bishops, 
and eleven dissenting ministers ; each party having nine 
substitutes, in case of necessity : the Archbishop of York 
was the president. Among these commissioners, on both 
sides, were some of the most learned and eminent men 
in the kingdom. 

As this arrangement was made by the king and his 
privy council, and the parties on each side were made 
equal in number, with an equal number of proxies for 
each, it is most evident that the king expected the 
matters in dispute to be settled by a majority of votes, 
in consequence of each article being fully and fairly dis- 
cussed. But this was the farthest thing from the minds 
of the bishops ; they were determined to yield nothing, 
but carry every thing their own way : and the easy king, 
intent on nothing but his sinful pleasures, made no re- 
monstrance, but permitted them to act as they pleased. 
The consequence was, the true pastors of the flock were 
expelled from the fold ; and hirelings, who cared more 
for the fleece and the fat than for the sheep, climbed 
over the wall, and seized on flocks to which they had no 
right, either divine or human; and the people of God 
were either starved or scattered. The Act of Uniformity 
soon followed, and became the act of the disorganization 
of the spiritual interests of the kingdom. 

To the above-named commissioners a paper was pre- 
sented, August 30th, intituled, " The exceptions of the 
Presbyterian brethren against some passages in the Li- 
turgy ; accompanied by a very humble address, To the 
most Rev. Archbishop and Bishops, and the Reverend 
their assistants, commissioned by his Majesty to treat 
about the alteration of the Common Prayer." 

These exceptions at various sessions were taken into 


consideration ; but scarcely any concessions of moment 
were made by the episcopal party. And the presbyte- 
rians, in the answers given to their exceptions, were often 
treated with great disrespect, and generally in a manner 
little calculated to conciliate or bring about unanimity. 

These several proceedings were delivered to the king 
by the bishops, and form 128 closely printed 4to. pageg. 
It need scarcely be added, that no agreement took 
place between the parties ; and the presbyterians, judg- 
ing themselves not fairly represented, delivered a very 
moving petition to the king, modestly stating their 
grievances, and imploring his protection, reminding him 
of his promise, that none should be punished or troubled 
for not using the Common Prayer, till it should be effec- 
tually reformed. And, foreseeing that a rigorous Act of 
Uniformity was about to be made, they conclude thus : — 
" "We crave your Majesty's pardon for the tediousness of 
this address, and shall wait in hope that so great a ca- 
lamity of your people, as will follow the loss of so many 
able faithful ministers as the rigorous imposition would 
cast out, shall never be recorded in the history of your 
reign; but that these impediments of concord being 
forborne, your kingdom may flourish in piety and peace. 
That this may be the signal honour of your happy reign, 
and your joy in the day of your account, is the prayer of 
your Majesty's faithful and obedient subjects." 

Whether the king were disposed to favour them, or 
had forgotten his promises, is, at this time, a matter 'of 
little importance. Every thing was carried with a high 
and inconsiderate hand ; and the Act of Uniformity was 
constructed on the grounds proposed by the bishops, and 
passed into a law. 

To save the reader the trouble of going elsewhere to 


consult this Act,* as tedious and monotonous as it was 
oppressive, I shall here present him with the sum and 
substance of it, as far as it affected the consciences and 
privileges of the opposite party. 

" Be it enacted, That all and singular ministers in any 
cathedral, collegiate, or parish church or chapel, or other 
place of public worship, within this realm of England, 
dominion of Wales, and town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, 
shall be bound to say and use the Morning Prayer, 
Evening Prayer, celebration and administration of both 
the Sacraments; and all other the public and common 
prayer, in such order and form, as it is mentioned in the 
said Book annexed and joined to this present act, and 

" The Book of Common Prayer and Administration 
of the Sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the 
Church, according to the use of the Church of England : 
together with the Psalter, or Psalms of David, pointed 
as they are to be sung or said in churches ; and the form 
or manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating of 
bishops, priests, and deacons. 

" And the Morning and Evening prayers therein con- 
tained shall, upon every Lord's-day, and upon all other 
days and occasions, and at the time therein appointed, be 
openly and solemnly read, by all and every minister or 
curate, in every church or chapel, or other place of public 
worship, within this realm of England, and places afore- 

" Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that 
every parson, vicar, or other minister whatsoever, who 
now hath and enjoyeth any ecclesiastical benefice or pro- 
motion within this realm of England, or places afore- 
* 13andl4Car. II., cap. 4. 


said, shall, in the church, chapel, or place of public 
worship belonging to the said benefice or promotion, 
.upon some day before the Feast of Saint Bartholomew 
(August 24th), which shall be in the year of our Lord 
God 1662, openly, publicly, and solemnly read the morn- 
ing and evening prayer appointed to be read by and 
according to the said Book of Common Prayer, at the 
times thereby appointed : and, after such reading thereof, 
shall openly and publicly, before the congregation there 
assembled, declare his unfeigned assent and consent to 
the use, and all things in the said book contained and 
prescribed, in these words and no other : 

" I, A. B., do hereby declare my unfeigned assent 
to all and every thing contained and prescribed in 
and by the Book intituled, ' The Book of Common 
Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments and 
other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of Eng- 
land ; together with the Psalter, or Psalms of David, 
pointed as they are to be sung or said in Churches : 
and the Form and Manner of making, ordaining, 
and consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.' 

" And that all and every such person who shall neglect 
or refuse to do the same within the time aforesaid, shall 
ipso facto be deprived of all his spiritual promotions ; 
and that from thenceforth it shall be lawful to and for 
all patrons and donors of all and singular the said spi- 
ritual promotions, or any of them, according to their 
respective rights and titles, to present or collate to the 
same, as though the person or persons so offending or 
neglecting were dead. 

" That no person shall be capable of being admitted 
to any parsonage, &c, and to consecrate and administer 


the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, before such time as 
he shall be ordained priest by episcopal ordination, upon 
pain to forfeit for every offence the sum of one hundred 

" That if any person who is by this act disabled to 
preach any lecture or sermon shall, during the time that 
he shall continue and remain so disabled, preach any 
sermon or lecture, that then, for every such offence, the 
person and persons so offending shall suffer three months' 
imprisonment in the common gaol, without bail or main- 

The same Act required " every schoolmaster and pri- 
vate tutor to be licensed by the archbishop or ordinary 
of the diocese, on the penalty, for the first offence, of 
three months' imprisonment; and for every repetition 
of the offence, three months' imprisonment and five 
pounds to the king. 

I shall here beg leave to make a few remarks upon 
this Act, in reference to the case of the persons shortly 
to be introduced to the reader s notice. 

1. The Act, whether considered good or bad, politi- 
cally, was an absolute breach of the king's solemn decla- 
ration and engagement to the Dissenters, and indeed to 
the nation, while he was at Breda, as we have already 
seen ; and argues that either he was a man of no moral 
principle, had no regard to his honour nor to his promise, 
or that his ministers were cruel and malicious men, who 
well knew the religious scruples of many of his best 
friends, and how they must be in every way injured by 
the passing of such an act. 

2. The breach of promise made to the Dissenters was 
a most dangerous measure, as it put to too severe a test 
the loyalty of a great part of the nation, and served to 


widen the breach between them and the established 
church ; the rulers of which, they had too much reason 
to believe, were the principal promoters of this measure. 

3. The Act required from every minister a solemn 
declaration, while ministering in the presence of Al- 
mighty God — more solemn, if possible, than any oath — 
of his unfeigned assent to all and every thing contained 
in, and prescribed by, the Book of Common Prayer, 
the Psalter, as there printed and pointed, and to all the 
rites and ceremonies therein enjoined. Now this is more 
than any man can with a pure conscience say of any 
human composition of devotion. The Bible alone, as it 
came from God, can be thus safely acknowledged ; and 
not even a translation of that most sacred book, nor any 
of the ancient Versions in which it has been handed 
down to posterity. Though I regard the Liturgy of the 
Church of England as the purest form of devotion ever 
composed by man, and next in excellence to the inspired 
Volume, yet there are words and phrases in it to which 
I could not declare my assent ; and as to the Psalter 
contained in that book, it is in many places a false and 
inefficient translation, foreign from the Hebrew verity, 
with the insertion of a multitude of words which have 
nothing corresponding to them in the original, while 
printed as if they were the words of the Holy Spirit ! 
And as to the pointing, it is generally barbarous, and 
often destructive of the sense. What divine, who ever 
read a Psalm of David in the original could give his 
solemn assent to this composition as it now stands ? 

4. This Act was intended as a snare to catch many 
upright men. Many of the clergy of those times doubted 
greatly whether the hierarchy were exactly conformable 
to Scripture. Lord King's position, that bishops and 
presbyters were the same order in the primitive church, 


was a very general opinion among those afterwards 
called Nonconformists ; and was the opinion of the late 
Mr. John "Wesley. These were fully convinced that 
ordination by presbyters was a valid and scriptural ordi- 
dation ; and many of the clergy at that time had none 
other. But the act, without Scripture or reason, annuls 
and sweeps this away at a stroke ; and none is per- 
mitted to minister in holy things unless episcopally 
ordained ; an ordination which not one of the opposite 
party could procure, unless he had been in every sense 
a thorough conformist. 

5. The Act took upon it to restrain and destroy, as far 
as it could, the spirit of prophecy, or the gift of Chris- 
tian preaching. Many of those excellent men believed 
themselves fully called of God to the work of the 
ministry. But this Act forbade them to preach unless 
they had episcopal ordination ; and although a dispensa- 
tion of the Gospel was committed unto them, and God 
pronounced a woe on such as preached it not ; yet one 
sermon or lecture of the person who did not, because he 
could not, conform as above, was punished by three 
months' imprisonment in the common gaol ; and those 
who had the word of the Lord, and could not be silent, 
were thus treated, and with circumstances also of relent- 
less rigour. 

6. The Act was not only persecuting, but unjust, as it 
deprived of the means of subsistence men who were 
educated for this function ; who had been regularly, 
according to the custom of the times, inducted and em- 
ployed in it, and had the subsistence of themselves and 
their families from it. But in one day upwards of two 
thousand of them were left without a morsel of bread, 
because they would not defile their consciences by so- 
lemnly affirming what they did not believe. 


7- The Act was cruel, as it endeavoured to prevent 
them from getting their bread by public or private teach- 
ing, as schoolmasters and tutors, unless licensed by the 
archbishop or ordinary of the diocese, under the penalty 
of three months' imprisonment ; and for every repetition 
of this offence, so called, three months' imprisonment 
and five pounds to the king. And the reader may rest 
assured that every minister who could not conscien- 
tiously assent to every thing in the Prayer Book was not 
likely to be licensed by a bishop as a teacher of youth. 

8. The Act had as much respect to rites and cere- 
monies as to prayers and preaching ; hence it required 
every minister " openly and publicly, before the congre- 
gation, to declare his unfeigned assent and consent to the 
use of all things in the said book contained and pre- 
scribed." But, notwithstanding the general excellence 
of this book, it would puzzle the first casuist in the 
church to show the moral or spiritual use of several 
things therein contained and prescribed. 

I have made these remarks to show the nature and 
operation of this, at that time, most illiberal and ma- 
licious Act, in order to vindicate the persons who were its 
victims ; who, on account of their conscientious steadi- 
ness, have been represented as foolish, fanatical, and 
obstinate men, because they would not solemnly affirm 
what they did not believe. And, for my own part, far 
from being surprised that so great a number as two 
thousand and twenty-five, according to Mr. Palmers 
reckoning,* were cast out of the church in one day, I 
am rather surprised that one learned or conscientious 

* De Foe says above 3000. See his " Life and Times," by 
Wilson, vol. i., p. 17. 


minister was* found, on the requisitions of the act, to 
retain his living. 

High churchmen may " extol the authors and framers 
of this Act as deserving the everlasting praises and bless- 
ings of the church." But while honesty, or rendering to 
every man his due, can be considered a blessing in 
society, and the steady attendant upon justice, — while 
humanity and mercy are esteemed the choicest charac- 
teristics of man, and while sound learning is valued as 
the ornament and handmaid of religion, — this Act, in its 
operation on St. Bartholomew's day (August 24, 1662), 
must be regarded as a scandal to the state, and a reproach 
to the church. 

Against the operations of this act the ministers of 
London met, drew up and presented a memorial to the 
king. The original is preserved, and is in the possession 
of William Upcott, Esq., of the London Institution. Of 
this I have taken a fac simile, which, not only for its 
matter, but because it exhibits the autographs of so 
many distinguished divines, will, I have no doubt, be 
much prized by the majority of my readers. 

" To the King's most excellent Majestie, the humble 
Petition of diverse Ministers in the City of London. 

" May it please your most excellent Majestie, 

" Upon former experience of your Majestie's tender- 
nes and indulgence to your obedient and loyall subjects, 
in which number with all clerenes we can reckon our- 
selves ; wee, some of the ministers of London, who are 
likely, by the late Act of Uniformity, to be throwen out 
of all publique service in the ministry (because we can- 
not in conscience conform to all things required in the 
said act), do take the boldnes humbly to cast ourselves 
and our concernments at your feet, desiring that out of 


your princely wisdom and compassion, you would take 
suet effectual course whereby we may be continued in 
the exercise of our ministrie, to teach your people obe- 
dience to God and your Majestie. And we doubt not, 
but by our dutifull and peaceable cariage therein, we 
shall render ourselves not altogether unworthy of so great 
a favour. 

Thomas Manton. Edm. Calamy. 

Wm. Bates. Tho. Jaconel. 

James Nalton. Samuel Annesley. 

Ri. Adams. Tho. Case. 

Hen. Hurst. Wm. Blackemour. 

Matth. Haveland. Wm. Whitaker. 

Sam. Clarke. Peter Vinke. 

Tho. White. Joseph Church. 

John Wills. John Sheffield. 

Ar. Barham. Tho. Watson." 

This petition was exhibited Aug. 27, 1662, and read 
in council the next day : but the king acting in all 
things by the advice of the bishops, the prayer of those 
eminent men was totally disregarded. 

No doubt the reader has already considered me a 
rigid dissenter, because of the above review of the Act 
of Uniformity, in its predisposing causes, and subsequent 
effects: but he is highly mistaken. Bred. up in the 
bosom of the church, I am strongly attached to it from 
principle and conscience ; and notwithstanding the blots, 
the existence of which in the Liturgy I cannot deny, I 
would not change that form of sound words for any 
thing that dissent could offer me as a substitute. But I 
abominate the Act of Uniformity, for its oppression, 
injustice, and cruelty; and because it gave a blow to 
the piety of the national church, from which it is still 

20 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

but slowly recovering. It deprived her of multitudes of 
her brightest ornaments, whose works have been a credit 
and a bulwark to the Reformation, and still praise them 
in the gates. Neither interest nor disaffection prompts 
this eulogium ! Fiat justitia ; ruat caelum ! T 

op mr. wesley's ancestors. 


From whatever part of the world the family of the 
Wesleys may have originally come, whether descended 
from Asiatic, Spanish, or Saxon progenitors ; or whether 

* Mr. Southey, in his Book of the Church, vol. ii. ( page 481, 
says, " The Liturgy, as approved hy the convocation and confirmed 
by the king under the great seal, was presented to the parliament, 
and received j and an Act of Uniformity passed, with seven clauses 
which the wisest statesmen and truest friends of the church dis- 
approved, but were unable to prevent. One of these excluded all 
persona from the ministry who had not received episcopal ordina- 
tion ; all, therefore, who had received presbyterian orders were 
to quit their benefices, or submit to be re-ordained. Another 
required a subscription from every man about to receive any pre- 
ferment in the universities or the church, declaring his assent and 
consent to every thing in the Book of Common Prayer, . . . words 
which gave occasion to cavils of the same kind as had been raised 
against the et cetera oath. But the touchstone was a clause which 
the Commons introduced, for another qualifying subscription, 
wherein the subscriber declared it was not lawful upon any pre- 
tence to take arms against the king ; abhorred the traitorous posi- 
tion of taking arms, by his authority, against his person ; and 
renounced the covenant as imposing no obligation upon him or any 
others, and unlawful in itself Any clergyman who should not 
fully conform to this act by St. Bartholomew's day, which was 
about three months after it was published, was, ipse facto, to be 
deprived of his cure ; and the act was so worded as not to leave it 
in the king's power to dispense with its observance. 


indigenous in Britain, through a long train of ancestry : 
posterity can mount no higher in tracing it than to about 
the end of the sixteenth century. Mr. J. "Wesley ("Works, 
vol. v., p. 83), mentions a " letter, this his grandfather's 
father had written to her he was to marry" in a few 
days, dated 1619 ; consequently, he must have been born 
about the close of the sixteenth century. We may, 
therefore, date the birth of Mr. Bartholomew Wesley 
about 1595 ; but so far as we can trace the family back, 
we find, as one of Mr. Wesley's biographers has re- 
marked, " his ancestors appear respectable for learning, 
conspicuous for piety, and firmly attached to those views 
of Christianity which they had formed from the sacred 

The Bev. Bartholomew Wesley, great-grandfather to 
the founder of the Methodists, is mentioned by Hutchins 
among the rectors of Catherston,* in Dorsetshire, in the 

* " This little village stands upon the decline of a hill, a mile 
north from Charmouth, in the south-western extremity of Dorset- 
shire. It does not occur in Domesday Book, being, perhaps, in- 
cluded in some other parish. The church was dedicated to St. 
Miry, 1511, but contains nothing remarkable. The rectory is not 
mentioned in the Valor, 1291. In Bishop Chandler's Register 
(folio 47, inter acta), this church is said to have been long unoffi- 
ciated in, ob exililatum ; and, on the same account, has generally, 
some time before and since the Reformation, been held by the 
same person as Charmouth. It is a discharged living in Bridport 

Present value , . . 2 16 10$ 

Tenths . . . . 5 8J 

Bishop's Procurations . .000 

Archdeacon's Procurations, dim 1 1J 

Clear Yearly Value . . 15 

" The return to the commission, 1650, was, Bartholomfiw 

Westley's glebe, five acres, worth £3 10 ; his small tithes, 

£10 ; in all £13 10 0." The following is the ecclesiastical 

2Ss op mk. Wesley's ancestors. 

year 1650. 3bid in the year 1662 we find him among 
those who suffered by the aforesaid Act of Uniformity ; 
being ejected from his living of Charmouth, a village in 
the same county, remarkable for its singular situation at 
the foot of a hill which is 1005 feet high, and opposite 
to another which is 970. His own name was to him 
ominous, as he was deprived of every earthly good, and 
suspended from his ministerial functions on the festival 
of the saint after whom he was called. He was suc- 
ceeded in his living of Catherston by a person of the 
name of Benjamin Bird, Oct. 14, 1662 ; and of Char- 
mouth by Timothy Hallett, 4 March, 1662. See the 
Nonconformist's Memorial, by Palmer, vol. ii., p. 125 ; 
and Hutchins's Dorset, second edit. 

I cannot find of what university or college he was : 
but most probably of Oxford. Dr. Calamy states, that 
when he was at the university he applied himself to the 
study of physic as well as divinity. In the former prac- 
tice he appears to have acquired some celebrity ; for 
while he was in his living of Charmouth, he was often 
consulted as a physician : and after his ejectment he 
applied himself chiefly to this profession, and gained a 
livelihood by it; though he continued, as the times 
would permit, to preach occasionally. 

return : — " Rectors : Laurence Orchard, 1554 ; Bartholomew 
Westley, 1650; Benjamin Bird, 14 Oct., 1662." The return to 
the commission in 1650, for Charmouth, was : " Bartholomew 
Westley, the present possessor by sequestration. That the house 
and four acres of glebe are worth, per annum, £4 ; the tythes of the 
parish, £18. They desire that Catherston may continue annexed, 
as it was by order of the committee of the county." The church 
record is : Rectors : Samuel Norrington, 1599 : he was seques- 
tered, 1640 : Bartholomew Westley, intruder ; he was ejected 
after the restoration : Timothy Hallett, 4 March, 1662." — Hutchins's 
Dorset, vol. i., pp. 313 — 316. 


It appears from the history of the Nonconformists, 
that many of the ministers when ejected had recourse 
to the practice of physic for a subsistence ; as there were 
no other means left in their power by which they might 
gain their bread. They were proscribed and incapaci- 
tated as preachers, both in public and private, by the 
Act of Uniformity ; and though their learned education 
had qualified them to be instructors of youth as public 
schoolmasters, or to give private tuition in the families 
of the nobility and gentry ; yet, this also was on grievous 
penalties proscribed by the act : hence they had no 
alternative but to study and practise medicine. For this, 
some had received previous qualifications at the univer- 
sity, as was the case, as just noticed, of Mr. Bartholo- 
mew Wesley. But others had no advantage of the 
kind ; and, therefore, practised at great hazard. This 
caused one of them to say to the persons by whom the 
ejectment was put in force against him, " I perceive that 
this is like to occasion the death of many." The com- 
missioners, supposing these words to savour of contu- 
macy and rebellion, questioned him severely on the 
subject. To whom he replied, " that being deprived by 
the act of every means of getting his bread in those 
ways for which he was qualified, he must have recourse 
to the practice of medicine, which he did not properly 
understand, and thereby the lives of many of his patients 
would most probably be endangered." 

This was no doubt the case in very many instances. 
They acted according to the best they knew, in order to 
help their neighbours and gain an honest livelihood; 
but, like many, even to the present day, though useful 
where disease bore no uncommon type, were often 
deceived by fallacious appearances, and took the more 
prominent symptoms, which were only indications of 

24 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

complication* or of spurious morbid action, as pointing 
out the immediate cause of the disorder ; prescribed 
accordingly ; and thereby formed a new disease, which 
not unfrequently terminated the life of the unhappy 

If regular and well-educated practitioners be liable to 
make such mistakes (and nothing is more certain), what 
must it be with the unskilful, and the immense colluvies 
of quack doctors, who now vend medicines for the infal- 
lible cure of every disorder, under authority of indis- 
putable patents ! 

Dr. Garth nervously describes the ruin spread through 
society by licensed and unlicensed empirics. " Non ta- 
men telis vulnerat ista agyrtarum colluvies, sed theriaca 
quadam magis perniciosa : non pyris sed pulvere nescio 
quo exotico certat ; non globulis plumbeis, sed pilulisque 
lethalibus interficit." 

" This herd of vermin inflict no wound by daggers ; 
but by a certain mithridate much more pernicious. They 
arm not themselves with cataplasms, but with a species 
of unknown exotic powder. They kill not with leaden 
bullets, but with pills equally lethal." 

From Dr. Calamy's account, it appears that Mr. "Wes- 
ley's preaching was not very popular, owing, he says, to 
a peculiar plainness of speech. In what this consisted, 
we are not told ; but this we well know, that plainness 
of speech, while the sense is good, and the doctrine 
sound, would not prevent the popularity of any preacher 
in the present day. His great-grandson studied the 

utmost plainness of speech in all his ministrations, yet 

who more popular ? who more successful ? 

Mr. Bartholomew Wesley lived some years after his 
ejectment ; but when he died is uncertain. All that we 
know is this, that he was so affected by the premature 


death of his excellent son John, who was also a minister, 
that his health rapidly declined, and he did not long 
survive him. This must have heen some time after 
1678. See the succeeding account of his son John. 

There is a story told of Mr. B. Wesley by Anthony a 
Wood, in the Athena Oxonienses, vol. ii., col. 963, 
which requires examination. 

Speaking of the Rev. Samuel Wesley, sen., rector of 
Epworth,*he says, " The said Samuel Wesley is grandson 

to Wesley, the fanatical minister, some time of 

Charmouth, in Dorsetshire, at what time Q1651] the 
Lord Wilmot and King Charles II. had like to have 
been by him betrayed, when they continued incognito in 
that country." 

Though a good sire may have a bad son, and a good 
son a bad sire — and the delinquency of ancestors should 
not be imputed to their posterity — yet I own I should 
feel grieved could a charge of treachery be fairly proved 
against the Wesley family, or that it could be made to 
appear that it had ever produced a person disaffected to 
the state. 

I have taken some pains to inquire into the authen- 
ticity of this story,* so confidently related by Wood, and 
shall lay before the reader the result of my inquiries. 

In the wonderful adventure of Charles II., in his 
attempts to recover his paternal kingdom, the story of 
his narrow escape at Charmouth is told by most of our 
historians and annalists. 

It appears that Lord Wilmot and Colonel Wyndham, 
who had accompanied the king in disguise, after his 
unfortunate defeat at Worcester, September 3, 1651, 

* Mr. Hutchins has the story told by Wood, and refers to a 
tract called " Boscobel," pp. 131—133, ed. 1725. See also Gerit.'s 
Mag., vol. lv., p. 427. 


26 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

wishing to «scape to the continent, came to Lyme, in 
Dorsetshire ; and agreed with one Limbry, master of a 
small sloop of 30 tons, then bound to St. Malo, to take 
over two gentlemen, and land them on any part of the 
French coast. The vessel then lay at the Cable, in 
Lyme ; and the owner having agreed to bring it out to 
a little creek near Charmouth, his Majesty and his party, 
deeply disguised, waited for its arrival. 

Lord Clarendon states, that while they were waiting, 
the day having been appointed by the parliament for a 
solemn fast, a fanatical weaver, who had been a soldier 
in the parliament army, was preaching against the king, 
in a little chapel fronting the obscure inn where his 
Majesty had stopped. Charles, to avoid suspicion, was 
among the audience. It happened that a smith, of the 
same principles with the weaver, who had been called 
to fasten on a shoe belonging to the king's horse, came 
to inform the preacher, that he knew from the fashion 
of the shoes that the horse had come from the north. 
The preacher immediately affirmed that this horse could 
belong to no other than Charles Stuart; and instantly 
went with a constable to search the inn. But the king, 
being disappointed of the vessel that was to come out 
for him in the night, and take him to the French coast, 
had left the inn, and was gone with Colonel Wyndham 
to Bridport, and thus escaped. 

This is the substance of the relation given by Lord 
Clarendon, who does not mention the name of the 
preacher; but merely tells us that he was a fanatical 
weaver, and had been a soldier in the parliament army. 

Here we might rest, and safely affirm that the story of 
Anthony a "Wood is confuted, as far as it relates to 
Bartholomew "Wesley, as none of these characters belong 
to him. There is no evidence that while he enjoyed 


the living of Charmouth (which he did at this time, 
1651, and continued to do till ejected by the Act of 
Uniformity in 1662), he had been a weaver, or had ever 
served in the parliament army. He appears to have 
been regularly bred at the university for a minister, and 
never to any handicraft business. He is reckoned 
among the rectors of Catherston, and had the living of 
Charmouth, and consequently would not be reputed a 
fanatical preacher. 

The story therefore to which Anthony a "Wood alludes, 
as told by Lord Clarendon, is wholly inapplicable to 
Bartholomew Wesley. 

But it may be asked, where did Wood get the name 
of Wesley, that he so circumstantially appropriates to 
the rector of Epworth's grandfather ? I answer : He 
got it partly by mistaking a name, and partly from his 
own invention. I shall produce the proof. 

We have a very circumstantial relation of the king's 
escape from Worcester, taken from his own mouth by 
Mr. Pepys, Secretary to the Admiralty, in several days' 
attendance for that purpose. In that authentic relation, 
the story, as inserted by Mr. Carte (in his General 
History of England), no friend to nonconformists, is as 
follows : — 

" The king with his company sat up all night, ex- 
pecting the ship to come out (i. e., out of the Cable, to 
come to the creek near Charmouth, according to agree- 
ment, see before), and upon her failure, Wilmot was 
sent with Peters, a servant of Colonel Windham's, to 
Lyme the next morning, to know the reason. Being 
troubled how to spend the day, the horses were ordered 
to be got ready, and the king's, which carried double 
(for he rode before Mrs. Judith Conisby, as a servant, by 
c 2 

28 op me. Wesley's ancestors. 

the name of "William Jackson), having a shoe loose, a 
smith was sent for, who, looking over the shoes of the 
other horses, he said he knew that some of them had 
been shod near Worcester. When he had fastened the 
shoes, he went presently to consult Westby, a rigid, 
foolish Presbyterian minister of Charmouth, who was 
then in a long-winded prayer ; and before he had done, 
the king was gone on with Mrs. Conisby and Mr. Wynd- 
ham to Bridport." 

Now, it may be allowed that "Westby may be a mistake 
for Westley, or "Westley for Westby ; but still there is 
no evidence here that Bartholomew "Wesley is intended : 
but were there even no doubt concerning the name, yet 
the pretended fact, so positively affirmed by the author 
of the Athenas, that Lord Wilmot and King Charles 
II. had like to have been by him betrayed, when they 
continued incognito in that country, is wholly unsub- 
stantiated ; for there is not a word, said Mr. Pepys, who 
took the relation from the king's own mouth, of any 
attempt, secret or outward, on the part of this Westby 
to betray the king ; for the account only states that the 
smith went to consult this Westby, who was then in a 
long-winded prayer ; and before he had done, the king 
had departed for Bridport. Nor is there any hint that 
this so called rigid, foolish Presbyterian minister took 
any steps to discover the king. Betray him he could 
not, because he was not in his confidence — nor is it 
hinted that the smith communicated his supposed dis- 
covery to the preacher, or that he even waited till he 
had finished his long-winded prayer. 

Lord Clarendon does state that the fanatical weaver, 
who had been a soldier, did get a constable, and went to 
detect the king, but he gives no name ; and by the 


preacher having been a soldier, and then a weaver, it 
must be evident for the reasons above assigned that 
Bartholomew Wesley could not be intended. 

There might have been a preacher at Charmouth of the 
name of Westby who had been a soldier in the parlia- 
ment army, and then a weaver ; and as Anthony a Wood 
must have known that Mr. Bartholomew Wesley had 
the living of Charmouth, for he was contemporary, he 
applied to the regular divine what was only true ot him 
whom he calls the fanatical minister. But Wood's evi- 
dence is little worth, for he was a man of a bitter and 
intolerant spirit, much more inclined to the Church of 
Rome than to the Protestant Church of England. Bishop 
Burnet, who lived at the same time, and was well ac- 
quainted with the virulence of his spirit, gives him the 
following character in a letter to the Bishop of Lichfield 
and Coventry : — 

" That poor writer has thrown together such a tumul- 
tuary mixture of stuff and tattle, and has been so visibly 
a tool of some of the church of Rome to reproach all 
the greatest men of our church, that no man who takes 
care of his own reputation will take any thing upon trust 
that is said by one who has no reputation to lose. 

I contend, therefore, that the tale of Anthony a Wood 
is unlikely, inconsistent, and absurd, as it relates to Mr. 
B. Wesley ; and we need not wonder that the man who 
was capable of styling the celebrated John Locke a 
prating, troublesome fellow, should call Mr. B. Wesley 
the fanatical minister of Charmouth.* 

* Anthony a Wood, in his Life, written by himself, under the 
year 1663, An. 14, Car. II., giving an account of the club that 
studied chemistry at Oxford, under " the noted chymist, Rosicru- 
eian, Peter Stael of Strasburg," tells us that John Locke, afterwards 
a noted writer, was one of the club ; and adds, " This John Locke 

c 3 

30 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

To conclude, as far as I have been able to search into 
the political principles of this family, especially from the 
days of the rector of Epworth, I hare found their senti- 
ments of loyalty among the strongest and purest I have 
ever known. 

As this principle has descended to the last branches 
of the family (for it is now nearly extinct), each appears 
to have possessed it as a kind of heirloom that has been 
handed down from the remotest ancestry. John, Mr. 
Wesley's grandfather, appears to have been shaken for a 
time in his attachment to the house of Stuart, from the 
conviction that was very common in the country, that 
Charles I. was endeavouring to alter the constitution of 
the kingdom, establish an arbitrary government, and 
bring back popery, which I believe was the fact; but 
on the restoration of Charles II., he cheerfully took the 
oath of allegiance, and faithfully kept it to the end of 
his life. 

Doubts also relative to the legitimacy of the Orange, 
succession, in prejudice of James II. and his heirs, were 
entertained by some of the collateral branches of the 
family ; but their principles of loyalty could never be 

was a mkn of a turbulent spirit, clamorous, and never contented. 
The club wrote and took notes from the mouth of their master, 
who sate at the upper end of a table, but the said J. Locke scorned 
to do it ; so that, while every man besides of the club was writing 
he would be prating and troublesome." — Life, by Hearne, p. 184. 
The truth is, such a man as Locke could ill brook the rosicru- 
cianism of Stael, or the multifarious tattle of Wood. He had no 
need of taking notes ; he could see farther into the subject on the 
first mention of a proposition, than Stael, Wood, and the rest of 
the club could do, after they had waddled through the doctrine of 
their four elements, earth, air, fire, and water ; and that of then- 
three principles, salt, sulphur, and mercury. Those who took 
most notes on such lectures only lost the most time. 


successfully impeached; and these very scruples arose 
from their high sense of duty and loyalty, which this 
history will show was carried to as great lengths as mode- 
ration could at all justify. And it should not escape 
the notice of the historian, as it cannot the attention of 
the politician and philosopher, that the immense body of 
Methodists, who may be properly called the spiritual 
progeny of the last great men of this family, have im- 
bibed the same spirit, and have been as remarkable for 
their loyalty, as they have been for the simplicity of 
their manners, the purity of their doctrine, and their 
zeal for the best interests of their fellow-creatures. 



This gentleman, who was the son of the Rev. Bar- 
tholomew Wesley mentioned above, was very religiously 
brought up, and dedicated by his pious father to the 
work of the ministry from his earliest infancy ; the con- 

* There is a village three miles west of Dorchester, of the name 
of Winterborn, which is thus named from a river called by Hutchins 
" South Winterborn, to distinguish it from another rivulet of the 
same name more northward, near Blandford," p. 507. The parish 
from which Mr. Wesley was ejected is usually known in Dorset- 
shire, not by the name of Winterborn, but Whitchurch; but as 
there is another place of the same name in Dorsetshire, the place 
spoken of is thus distinguished by Hutchins : — 

"Winterborn Whitchurch, Album Monasterium, Blaunch-minster. 
This village is situated about a mile south-west of Cleniton, on 
the river Winterborn. It seems to derive its name from the colour 
of its church, when newly built, or from the chalky hills near it, 
or from whit, a corruption of the British coit, a wood." — Hutchins' 

32 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

sequence was what might have been expected, he re- 
membered his Creator in, and indeed from, the days of 
his youth. He was deeply convinced of sin, and had a 
serious concern for his salvation, when a lad at school ; 
and soon after God began to work upon his soul he 
kept a diary, in which he recorded not only the most 
remarkable events of God's promise in his behalf, but 
more especially the operations of the Divine Spirit upon 
his heart, and how he felt himself affected by the various 
means which his heavenly Father used for his salvation, 
whether in the way of afflictive providences or gracious 

This course he continued with little intermission to 
the end of his life;* and it was probably his example, 
which he must have known, that led his grandson, the 
founder of the Methodists, to follow the same practice ; 
and whose journals are an uncommon treasury of sound 
learning and.just criticism, and of records concerning the 
gracious influence of God on ministerial labours, unpre- 
cedented and unparalleled. 

At a proper age he was entered of New Inn Hall, 
Oxford ; and in due course proceeded A. M. During 
his stay at the university he was noticed for his serious- 
ness and diligence. He applied himself particularly to 
the study of the oriental languages, in which he is said 
to have made great proficiency. 

After John Wesley had honourably acquitted him- 
self, and taken his degree at Oxford, we next find 
him in Dorsetshire, and a member of " a particular 
church at Melcombe." At this period, the clergymen of 
Melcombe and Radipole, of Weymouth and Wyke, the 
two former and the two latter being parochially united, 
were George Thorne and Walter Burgess ; Edmund 
* See Calamy's Continuation, p. 437 — 151. 


Buckler in 1652, one of Cromwell's chaplains, and who 
was succeeded hy a minister of the name of Darner. In 
addition to these, it is found that a Mr. Janeway was a 
minister at Melcombe at this time ; he was one of four 
brothers, all good and pious men, who were devoted to 
the ministry ; one of whom wrote " Tokens for Children." 
The certainty of his residence here is attested by a pam- 
phlet, which has come down to our day ; two episcopal 
clergymen, of the name of Crouch and Poller, who were 
" under restraints in the garrison of Weymouth," wrote 
" eertaine queries concerning the lawfullness of imposing 
and taking the negative oath ;" and they were "answered 
by Edmund Buckler, minister of Weymouth, and Peter 
Janeway, minister of Melcombe Regis." As George 
Thome and Walter Burgess were the parochial ministers 
of Melcombe Regis and Radipole, perhaps Mr. Janeway 
was the minister of the "gathered church" of which 
Mr. Wesley was a member.* 

By " the church of Christ at Melcombe" Mr. Wesley 
was sent to preach ; his labours were among seamen, 
and at Radipole ; this is the name of a village, which is 
about two miles distant from Weymouth. He was what 
was then termed " a preaching minister ;" one not called 
to the work of the ministry, but to the office. That is, 
his first designation was not to be a pastor, to govern as 
a minister in the church, nor to administer the sacra- 
ments, but simply to preach the gospel. When old Mr. 
Walton, the vicar of Winterborn- Whitchurch, died, the 
people of that parish desired Mr. Wesley to preach to 

* Hutchins, vol. i„ pp. 415, 416, 417, 602. Ellis's History of 
Weymouth, p. 117. Among the Independents at Oxford, when 
Mr. Wesley was at college, were many men of great celebrity ; 
among others, John Owen, Thomas Goodwin, Stephen Charnock, 
Theophilus Gale, John Howe, &c. 

34 OP me. Wesley's ancestors. 

them. He vrtmt ; his ministry and life gave satisfaction 
to those who invited him, and by the trustees he was 
appointed to the parish. The next necessary step was 
the approval of the "triers," who will be noticed in a 
proper place. 

The triers who examined and approved John Wesley 
cannot with certainty be named. By the fragments 
that have come down to us of those days, we learn that 
Dorsetshire was blessed with men of eminence as minis- 
ters, by whom the people of the country were so well 
instructed, that the visionaries and antinomians, which 
then started up — to use the words of Mr. Baxter, " as 
the river Nilus breeds frogs, when one part moveth 
(saith Herodotus) before the other is made, and while it 
is yet but plain mud" — could not make much impression 
on the well-taught people. In the second part of the 
" Gangrena," we read that attempts were made to seduce 
the people at Bere, at Dorchester, &c, but in vain. At 
Weymouth was George Thome, " a man of great minis- 
terial abilities ;" and Edmund Buckler also, who is said 
to have been "much the gentleman, a good preacher, 
and a good writer." John White was a member of the 
assembly of divines, and commonly known as the patri- 
arch of Dorchester. William Benn, of the same town, 
"was an eminent divine, famous in all the west of 
England." Philip Lamb of Bere was also a person of 
great celebrity ; from whom the Rev. Thomas Bellows, 
who lately died at Pembroke, was a direct descendant. 
These were among the eminent ministers of Dorsetshire, 
when Mr. Wesley appeared before the triers ; and by 
some of them was very likely approved.* Thus he was 

* Nonconformist's Memorial, first edition, vol. i., pp. 477, 450, 
442 ; vol. ii., p. 7. 


by the trustees appointed ; by the triers approved; and 
" the church of Christ," of which he had been a member, 
" seeing the presence of God going along with him, did 
(at some period of his ministry) by fasting and prayer, 
in a day set apart for that end, seek an abundant blessing 
on his endeavours."* 

In May, 1658, he became the minister of Winterborn- 
Whitchurch. The western road, five miles from Bland- 
ford, passes directly through this village, and leads to 
Dorchester. To the traveller going westward, its church 
opens beautifully, as he descends to Whitchurch ; but 
coming from the west, the church where Mr. Wesley 
ministered is hid, until the traveller leave the village at 
its eastern extremity. 

From this place, the return to the commission in 1650 
was, "Tobias Walton, incumbent." Mr. Walton died 
in 1658, aged 89, having been vicar of the parish 56 
years. In the record of vicars, the following names are 
found : " Tobias Walton, 1603. John Wesley, M. A., 
1658, ejected 1662. Edward Sutton, inst. 1679."t 

Dr. John Owen, who was then Vice-chancellor of the 
University, showed him great kindness. 

It will appear from what has been stated, that Mr. John 
Wesley began to preach occasionally at the age of twenty- 
two; and that in May, 1658, he was sent to preach at 
Whitchurch, the income of which, it may be remarked, 
was but about thirty pounds per annum. He was pro- 
mised an augmentation of one hundred pounds a-year : 
but the many changes in public affairs which took place ' 
soon after, prevented him from ever receiving any part 
of it. 

* Neal, vol. i., pp. 103, 156. Vide note, p. 67. 
t Hutching, vol. i., p. 69, and Calamy's Contin., p. 448. 

36 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

Mr. Wesley was respectable in his matrimonial con- 
nexions. He married a niece of Dr. Thomas Fuller, 
prebend of Salisbury, rector of Broad "Windsor, and 
chaplain extraordinary to Charles II. This divine was 
not only eminent for his learning and writings, but for 
his prodigious memory. He could repeat a sermon ver- 
batim from once hearing it; and undertook in passing 
to and from Temple Bar to the Poultry to tell every sign 
as it stood in order, on both sides of the way, and to 
repeat them either backwards or forwards; and this 
task he actually performed ! 

Dr. Fuller in all his works affects a very quaint style, 
though it is always terse and nervous. He was fond of 
punning on others, and was sometimes paid in his own 
coin. Being in company with a gentleman, whose name 
was Sparrowhawk, the doctor, who was very corpulent, 
facetiously said, " Pray, Sir, what is the difference be- 
tween an owl and a sparrowhawk V The gentleman 
immediately answered, " It is fuller in the head, fuller 
in the body, and fuller all over." 

He was author of the " Church History of Britain," 
folio ; a " Defence of it against Dr. Peter Heylin," folio ; 
the " History of the Holy War," folio ; a " Pisgah's 
Sight of Palestine," folio ; a " History of the Worthies 
of England," folio; "Andronicus, or the Unfortunate 
Politician," 8vo. ; " Introductio ad Prudentiam, or Di- 
rections, Counsels, and Cautions tending to the Prudent 
Management of Affairs in common Life ; composed for 
his only Son," 12mo., 1726 ; a very excellent and useful 

By this lady Mr. Wesley had two sons, Matthew and 
Samuel, of whom hereafter. He is said by Dr. Calamy 
to have had a numerous family ; but the names of none 
but the above are come down to posterity. 


The same author informs us that, because of this 
growing family, he was obliged to set up a school in 
order to maintain it. 

It appears that, like his father, he seriously scrupled 
to use the Common Prayer as it then stood ; and, soon 
after the Restoration, some of his neighbours gave him 
a great deal of trouble on this account. 

Dr. Gilbert Ironside,* bishop of Bristol, was informed 
by some persons of distinction that Mr. Wesley would 
not use the Liturgy; and, besides, they stated their 
opinion that his title to Whitchurch was not valid ; and 
that for some other parts of his conduct he might be 
prosecuted in a court of justice. The bishop expressing 
a desire to see and converse with him, he took the first 
opportunity to wait upon his lordship ; and had the 
following interesting conversation with him, which he 
entered into his journal, and from which it was tran- 
scribed by Dr. Calamy. Though this journal is unfor- 
tunately lost, we may be thankful for the extracts which 
the indefatigable Calamy has preserved : — 

Bishop. What is your name ? 

Wesley. John Wesley. 

Bishop. There are many great matters charged upon 

Wesley. May it please your lordship, Mr. Horlock 
was at my house on Tuesday last, and acquainted me 

* Some of the immediate descendants of this family are now 
(1835) receiving occasional help from the Wesleyan Methodist 
Society at Weymouth. Mark Hardy is a poor man, and a member 
of a society there. His wife's name was Ironside; and for the 
purpose of attempting to get some property, originally belonging 
to the Ironsides, this wife and child of Mark Hardy have obtained 
copies of registers, &c, which prove them to be descended, im- 
mediately or collaterally, from Bishop Ironside. So changes the 
glory of the world ! 

38 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

that it was your Lordship's desire that I should come to 
you ; and on that account I am here to wait upon you. 

Bishop. By whom were you ordained ? Or are you 
ordained ? 

Wesley. I am sent to preach the gospel. 

Bishop. By whom were you sent ? 

Wesley. By a church of Jesus Christ. 

Bishop. What church is that ? 

Wesley. The church of Christ at Melcombe. 

Bishop. That factious and heretical church ! 

Wesley. May it please you, Sir, I know no faction or 
heresy that that church is guilty of. 

Bishop. No ! Did not you preach such things as 
tend to faction and heresy ? 

Wesley. I am not conscious to myself of any such 

Bishop. I am informed by sufficient men, gentlemen 
of honour of this county, viz., Sir Gerrard Napper, Mr. 
Freak, and Mr. Tregonnel, of your doings. What say 

Wesley. Those honoured gentlemen I hare been 
with, who, being by others misinformed, proceeded with 
some heat against me. 

Bishop. There are the oaths of several honest men 
who have observed you; and shall we take your word 
for it that all is but misinformation ? 

Wesley. There was no oath given or taken. Besides, 
if it be enough to accuse, who shall be innocent? I 
can appeal to the determination of the great day of 
judgment, that the large catalogue of matter laid against 
me are either things invented or mistaken. 

Bishop. Did not you ride with your sword in the 
time of the committee of safety, and engage with them ? 

Wesley. Whatever imprudences in matters civil you 


may be informed I am guilty of, I shall crave leave to 
acquaint your lordship, that his Majesty having par- 
doned them fully, and I having suffered on account of 
them since the pardon, I shall put in no other plea, and 
waive any other answer. 

Bishop. In what manner did the church you speak 
of send you to preach ? At this rate every body might 

Wesley. Not every one. Every body has not preach- 
ing gifts and preaching graces. Besides, that is not all 
I have to offer to your lordship to justify my preaching. 

Bishop. If you preach, it must be according to 
order; the order of the Church of England, upon an 

Wesley. What does your lordship mean by an ordi- 
nation ? 

Bishop. Do not you know what I mean ? 

Wesley. If you mean that sending spoken of Rom. 
x., I had it. 

Bishop. I mean that. What mission had you ? 

Wesley. I had a mission from God and man. 

Bishop. You must have it according to law, and the 
order of the Church of England. 

Wesley. I am not satisfied in my spirit therein. 

Bishop. Not satisfied in your spirit! You have 
more new-coined phrases than ever were heard of! You 
mean your conscience, do you not ? 

Wesley. Spirit is no new phrase. We read of being 
" sanctified in body, soul, and spirit ;" but if your lord- 
ship like it not so, then I say I am not satisfied in 
conscience, touching the ordination you speak of. 

Bishop. Conscience argues science, science supposes 
judgment, and judgment reason. What reason have 
you that you will not be thus ordained ? 

40 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

Wesley. »I came not this day to dispute with your 
lordship ; my own inability would forbid me to do so. 

Bishop. No, no ; but give me your reason. 

Wesley. I am not called to office, and therefore 
cannot be ordained. 

Bishop. Why, then, have you preached all this 
while ? 

Wesley. I was called to the work of the ministry, 
though not to the office. There is, as we believe, vocatio 
ad opus, et ad munus.* 

Bishop. Why may you not have the office of the 
ministry? You have so many new distinctions! O, 
how are you deluded ! 

Wesley. May it please your lordship, because they 
are not a people that are fit objects for me to exercise 
office-work among them. 

Bishop. You mean a gathered church : but we must 
have no gathered churches in England; and you will 
see it so. For there must be unity without divisions 
among us ; and there can be no unity without uniformity. 
Well, then, we must send you to your church, that they 
may dispose of you, if you were ordained by them. 

Wesley. I have been informed by my cousin Pitfieldt 

* A call to the work, and a call to the office. 
t "A good report of the bishop had been conveyed to Mr. 
Wesley by his cousin Pitfield ; and to the character of the accused, 
Mr. Glisson, Sir Francis Fulford, and others were willing to bear 
testimony, in opposition to the reports of Sir Gerard Naper, Mr. 
Freke, Mr. Tregonwell, and other bitter enemies previously no- 
ticed. The three last-mentioned persons were zealous partizans, 
in support of the new order of things ; the first was of More 
Critchell, where he entertained the king, 1665 ; he died 1672, and 
was buried at Mintern : the second was of Shroton, near Turn- 
wood : the third was of Milton Abbas, in whose family was the 
advowson of Whitchurch, which is some three miles from what 


and others, concerning your lordship, that you have a 
disposition opposed to morosity. However you may he 
prepossessed hy some bitter enemies to my person, yet 
there are others who can and will give you another 
character of me. Mr. Glisson hath done it; and Sir 
Francis Fulford desired me to present his service to you, 
and, being my hearer, is ready to acquaint you concerning 

Bishop. I asked Sir Francis Fulford whether the 
presentation to Whitchurch was his. Whose is it ? He 
told me it was not his. 

Wesley. There was none presented to it these sixty 

was the seat of the Tregonwells. As a reward for their loyalty, 
each became sheriff for the county. Of Gerard Naper something 
more will be found. Sir Francis Fulford resided in Mr. Wesley's 
parish, was his hearer, and best able to form an estimate of his 
worth ; Francis Glisson, M. D., was a native of near Maiden 
Newton, in Dorset ; he was educated at Cambridge; he afterwards 
obtained literary honours at Oxford, was at the siege of Colchester, 
1648, and died 1677. The force and reason of his appeal to the 
Glisson family will more fully appear, when it is stated that the 
wife of Bishop Ironside was Alice, the daughter of William 
Glisson, gent., and who was afterwards buried in Bristol Cathe- 
dral. The Pitfields held lands near Beaminster, in Dorset ; the 
only sister of Bishop Ironside was a neighbour of this family ; 
Broadwinsor, where Fuller was vicar, whose niece Mr. Wesley 
married, is but some two or three miles distant from the former 
residence of the Pitfields ; these places are in the vicinity of the 
parishes where Gilbert Ironside was the rector. This leads us 
not only to see how the parties mentioned were known to the 
bishop, but also the residence of his cousin Pitfield, Mr. Glisson, 
the young female who afterwards became his wife, and his living 
at Weymouth, seem to point out the south-west part of Dorsetshire 
as the abode of Mr. Wesley's early life : in the western part of 
this county, we have seen, his father was the rector of two parishes ; 
and in this direction, most likely, John Wesley was born." — Beat's 

42 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

years. Mr. Walton lived there. At his departure, the 
people desired me to preach to them ; and when there 
was a way of settlement appointed, I was by the trustees 
appointed, and by the triers approved. 

Bishop. They would approve any that would come 
to them, and close with them. I know they approved 
those who could not read twelve lines of English. 

Wesley. All that they did I know not; but I was 
examined touching gifts and graces. 

Bishop. I question not your gifts, Mr. Wesley. I 
will do you any good I can ; but you will not long be 
suffered to preach, unless you do it according to order. 

Wesley. I shall submit to any trial you shall please 
to make. I shall present your lordship with a confession 
of my faith ; or take what other way you please to in- 
sist on. 

Bishop. No. We are not come to that yet. 
Wesley. I shall desire several things may be laid 
together which I look on as justifying my preaching. 1. 
I was devoted to the service from my infancy. 2. I was 
educated thereto, at school and in the university. 
Bishop. What university were you of? 
Wesley. Oxon. 
Bishop. What house? 
Wesley. New Inn Hall. 
Bishop. What age are you ? 
Wesley. Twenty-five. 
Bishop. No sure, you are not ! 
Wesley. 3. As a son of the prophets, after I had 
taken my degrees, I preached in the country, being ap- 
proved of by judicious able Christians, ministers, and 
others. 4. It pleased God to seal my labour with suc- 
cess, in the apparent conversion of several souls. 
Bishop. Yea, that is, it may be, to your own way. 


Wesley. Yea, to the power of godliness, from igno- 
rance and profaneness. If it please your lordship to lay 
down any evidences of godliness agreeing with the 
Scriptures, and if they he not found in those persons 
intended, I am content to he discharged from my minis- 
try ; I will stand or fall hy the issue thereof. 

Bishop. You talk of the power of godliness such as 
you fancy. 

Wesley. Yea, the reality of religion. Let us appeal 
to any common-place hook for evidences of grace, and 
they are found in and upon these converts. 

Bishop. How many are there of them ? 

Wesley. I numher not the people. 

Bishop. Where are they ? 

Wesley. Wherever I have heen called to preach. At 
Radpole, Melcomh, Turnwood, Whitchurch, and at sea. 
I shall add another ingredient of my mission, 5. When 
the church saw the presence of God going along with 
me, they did hy fasting and prayer, in a day set apart 
for that end, seek an abundant blessing on my endea- 

Bishop. A particular church ? 

Wesley. Yes, my lord. I am not ashamed to own 
myself a member of one. 

Bishop. Why, you mistake the apostles' intent. They 
went about to convert heathens, and so did what they 
did. You have no warrant for your particular churches. 

Wesley. We have a plain, full, and sufficient rule for 
gospel worship in the New Testament, recorded in the 
Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles. 

Bishop. We have not. 

Wesley. The practice of the apostles is a standing 
rule in those cases which were not extraordinary. 

Bishop. Not their practice, but their precepts. 

44 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

Wesley f Both precepts and practice. Our duty is not 
delivered to us in Scripture only by precepts; but by 
precedents, by promises, by threatenings mixed ; not 
common-place wise. "We are to follow them, as they 
followed Christ. 

Bishop. But the apostle said, " This speak I, not the 
Lord ;" that is, by revelation. 

Wesley. Some interpret that place, "This speak I 
now, by revelation from the Lord;" not the Lord in that 
text before instanced, when he gave answer to the case 
concerning divorce. May it please your lordship, we 
believe that " cultus non institutus est indebitus."* 

Bishop. It is false. 

Wesley. The second commandment speaks the same, 
" Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image." 

Bishop. That is, forms of your own invention. 

Wesley. Bishop Andrews, taking notice of " non 
facies tibi,"+ satisfied me that we may not worship God 
but as commanded. 

Bishop. You take discipline, church government, 
and circumstances for worship. 

Wesley. You account ceremonies a part of worship. 

Bishop. But what say you? Did you not wear a 
sword in the time of the committee of safety, with 
Demy and the rest of them ? 

Wesley. My lord, I have given you my answer 
therein; and I farther say that I have conscientiously 
taken the oath of allegiance, and faithfully kept it 
hitherto. I appeal to all that are round about me. 

Bishop. But nobody will trust you. You stood it 
out to the last gasp. 

Wesley. I know not what you mean by the last gasp. 

* Worship not enjoined, is not binding. 
t Thou shalt not make to thyself. 


When I saw the pleasure of Providence to turn the 
order of things, I did submit quietly thereunto. 

Bishop. That was at last. 

Wesley. Yet many such men are trusted, and now 
about the king. 

Bishop. They are such as, though on the parliament 
side during the war, yet disown those latter proceedings: 
but you abode even till Haselrig's coming to Ports- 

Wesley. His Majesty has pardoned whatever you 
may be informed of concerning me of that nature. I 
am not here on that account. 

Bishop. I expected you not. 

Wesley. Your lordship sent your desire by two or 
three messengers. Had I been refractory, I need not 
have come ; but I would give no just cause of offence. 
I think the old Nonconformists were none of his majesty's: 

Bishop. They were traitors. They began the war. 
Knox and Buchanan in Scotland, and those like them 
in England. 

Wesley. I have read the protestation, of owning the 
king's supremacy. 

Bishop. They did it in hypocrisy. 

Wesley. You used to tax the poor Independents for 
judging folks' hearts. Who doth it now ? 

Bishop. I did not ; for they pretended one thing and 
acted another. Do not I know them better than you ? 

Wesley. I know them by their works ; as they have 
therein delivered us their hearts. 

Bis/wp. Well then, you will justify your preaching, 
will you, without ordination according to the law ? 

Wesley. All these things laid together are satisfactory 
to me for my procedure therein. 

46 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

Bishop., They are not enough. 

Wesley. There has been more written in proof of 
preaching of gifted persons, with such approbation, than 
has been answered by any one yet. 

Bishop. Have you any thing more to say to me, Mr. 
Wesley ? 

Wesley. Nothing. Your lordship sent for me. 

Bishop. I am glad I heard this from your own mouth. 
You will stand to your principles, you say ? 

Wesley. I intend it, through the grace of God ; and 
to be faithful to the king's majesty, however you deal 
with me. 

Bishop. I will not meddle with you. 

Wesley. Farewell to you, Sir. 

Bishop. Farewell, good Mr. Wesley. 

Calamy's Nonconformists Memorial, vol. ii., p. 165. 

There is no evidence that the bishop forfeited his word 
by giving Mr. Wesley any disturbance. How he was 
treated by others we shall see shortly. But before I 
proceed farther in his history, I think it necessary to 
make some remarks on the preceding dialogue; as 
there are some things in it which require explanation. 

I. The conversation mentioned here must have taken 
place after the year 1660. For on Jan. 13 of that year 
was Dr. Gilbert Ironside consecrated bishop of Bristol ; 
the see having been vacant, through the calamities of 
the times, from the death of Dr. Thomas Howell, in the 
year 1646, to the year above-mentioned (vide De Prce- 
sulibus Anglice, 566). 

There was another Dr. Gilbert Ironside, son of the 
preceding, who was bishop of Bristol. But this could 
not be the prelate in question. The preceding held the 
see from 1660 to 1671, so that the conversation took 


place some time in that period;* and certainly before 
the passing the Act of Uniformity in 1662, as that event 
is here alluded to as shortly to take place. 

II. The committee of safety mentioned by the bishop 
was formed, Oct. 26, 1659, by the great officers of the 
army. It consisted of twenty -three persons, who were 
ordered "to endeavour some settlement of the govern- 
ment ;" for after the death of Cromwell, on Sept. 3 of 
the preceding year, the nation was greatly distracted ; 
there was no efficient civil government, and the power 
fell wholly into the hands of the army. 

This committee was invested with the full power of 
the council of state ; and were to "prepare such a form 
of government as might best comport with a free state 
and commonwealth, without a single person, kingship, 
or house of lords." — See Rapin. 

It was at this time, 1659, that Sir Arthur Haselrig 
was sent to Portsmouth by the parliament, the town and 
garrison of which declared for them, against the orders 
of the committee of safety. 

The Bishop accuses Mr. Wesley that he continued 
till the last gasp ; i. e., that he held with the parliament 
against the restoration of the king till the time that 
Haselrig came to Portsmouth ; soon after which he and 
all the army joined with Monk ; and the king was in- 
vited over, proclaimed in London, May 8, 1660, and 
landed at Dover on the 25th. 

The declaration of Portsmouth for the parliament was 
one of the last public acts against the restoration of the 
king; and might be fitly denominated, as here by the 
bishop, the last gasp, i. e., of the republican government 
in England. 

III. What is implied in his wearing a sword at that 

* Sir Jonathan Trelawny, Bart, was appointed bishop in 1685. 

48 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

time I ctonot tell : whether it was for personal safety, 
or as a soldier, or as an ensign of some office. During 
the existence of the committee of safety, the whole 
nation was under military law ; for this committee was 
created, and the members appointed, by the great officers 
of the army. 

The parliament and the army had now separate inte- 
rests, and separate views. Every person saw that there 
must soon be a stupendous issue; but of what kind 
none could tell. 

Mr. Wesley, it appears, was undecided ; but he was a 
man of a reflecting mind, careful to mark the workings 
of Providence ; and when he saw that it was the pleasure 
of Providence to turn the order of things, i. e., to re- 
store the monarchy in the family of the Stuarts, he 
quietly submitted, read the protestation, owning the 
king's supremacy ; and cheerfully took the oath of alle- 
giance. His indecision was no blot on his character; 
and his subsequent conduct much to his credit. 

IV. Had we more particulars of the family of Mr. 
Bartholomew Wesley, we should, no doubt, find some- 
thing peculiarly interesting relative to his son John, of 
whom we are speaking. 

That he had a truly religious education, there can be 
no doubt ; and from his own account to the bishop of 
Bristol it appears that he was devoted to the sacred ser- 
vice from his infancy, and educated in order thereto, 
both at school and at the university. And it was evident 
from the manner in which God wrought upon his mind, 
and the gifts and graces with which he had endued him, 
that he had accepted the gift which his parents had 
offered, and given him those qualifications for the work 
of the ministry which neither schools nor universities 
can supply, and which the imposition of the hands of 


the holiest bishop cannot confer. His conversation with 
the bishop shows that he possessed manly sense, un- 
affected piety, and religious knowledge, far beyond his 

V. From this conversation we learn two important 
facts: — 1. That he was a lay-preacher. 2. That he was 
an itinerant evangelist. 

1. That he was not ordained, either by bishop or pres- 
byters, by the imposition of hands, is fully evident. He 
had authority from God ; this he conscientiously be- 
lieved was sufficient, and he does not appear to have 
wished to have the authority of man superadded. How- 
ever, he submitted all his own views and feelings to the 
examination and judgment of such persons as from their 
knowledge, piety, and experience, were capable of dis- 
cerning the grace of God that was in him, and whether 
his talents were such as the people of God might profit by. 

2. He went to proclaim Christ crucified wherever he 
had an invitation, and probably where he had none. It 
appears also that he had religious societies at several 
places ; himself mentions Radpole, Melcomb, Turn wood, 
Whitchurch, and at sea. What he means by his con- 
verts at sea, I cannot learn ; whether he served aboard 
the fleet, or whether he only occasionally visited the 
ships at Bridport, Weymouth, Lyme, Radpole, &c, I 
know not. From his own account we find that he ex- 
ercised his ministry, both by sea and land, in what would 
be called an irregular way, without any kind of human 
ordination, as " a son of the prophets," to use his own 
words ; nearly in the same way, from similar motives, 
and in reference to the same end, as those whom his 
grandson long afterwards associated with himself in the 
Christian ministry. Indeed we find in this man's con- 
duct a kind of epitome of Methodism; his mode of 


50 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

preaching, matter, manner, and success, being most 
strikingly similar. 

VI. Mr. "Wesley tells the Bishop that he was ap- 
pointed to preach at Whitchurch by the trustees, and 
approved by the triers. 

A short notice of the men who were denominated 
Triers, and who are so frequently referred to in the 
ecclesiastical history of this period, cannot be unaccept- 
able to the reader. 

" On the abolition of episcopacy in. England," says a 
modern writer, " the approbation of all who entered 
upon the ministry, so as to enjoy ecclesiastical benefices, 
was claimed by the several presbyteries in London and 
the country. But when Cromwell gained the supreme 
authority, desirous of conciliating the favour of other 
religious bodies, and of checking the power of the pres- 
byterians, who might be supposed to admit none but 
those of their own persuasion, he resolved to join the 
different parties together in judging of ministerial quali- 
fications. Under his direction, therefore, a society of 
clergymen and others, belonging to the Presbyterian, the 
Independent, and the Baptist denominations, were ap- 
pointed to sit at Whitehall under the name of Triers. 
The Independents formed the majority, and were the 
most active in the use of their delegated powers.* All 
candidates for holy orders, and all ministers who were 
presented to new livings in the church, were required to 
undergo a personal examination before these commis- 
sioners, and without their sanction none could be admit- 
ted." The " Ordinance t for the approbation of Publique 

* Calamy's Abridgment of Baxter's Life, p. 69. 
t See Scobell's Collection, Part II., pp. 279,280. This ordinance 
was confirmed, A. D. 1656.' 


Preachers," investing the Triers with these formidable 
powers, bears the date of March 20th, 1653. 

A curious and interesting satire on these persons will 
be found in a little scarce 12mo. work, printed in 1658, 
entitled, The examination of Tilenus before the Triers, 
in order to his intended settlement in the office of a 
public Preacher in the Commonwealth of Utopia. The 
chairman opens the meeting thus : — " The great pru- 
dence and piety of the governors of this common- 
wealth, considering how apt the people are to be 
influenced by the principles and example of their con- 
stant teachers, have been pleased, out of an ardent zeal 
to God's glory, and a tender care of men's precious souls, 
to think upon a course how their dominions may be 
made happy in the settlement of an able and godly 
ministry among them; for which purpose they have 
appointed commissioners to examine the gifts of all such 
as shall be employed in the office of public preaching." 

The Triers then nominated were, Francis Rous, Esq., 
Dr. Thomas Goodwin, Dr. John Owen, Mr. Thankful 
Owen, Dr. Arrowsmith, Dr. Fuckney, Dr. Horton, Mr. 
Joseph Caryl, Mr. Philip Nye, Mr. "William Carter, 
Mr. Sidrach Simpson, Mr. William Greenhill, Mr. Wil- 
liam Strong, Mr. Thomas Manton, Mr. Samuel Slater, 
Mr. William Cooper, Mr. Stephen Marshal, Mr. John 
Tombes, Mr. Walter Cradock, Mr. Samuel Faircloth, Mr. 
Hugh Peters, Mr. Peter Sterry, Mr. Samuel Bamford, 
Mr. Thomas Valentine of Chaford, Mr. Henry Jessee, 
Mr. Obadiah Sedgewick, Mr. Nicholas Lockier, Mr. 
Daniel Dyke, Mr. James Russel, Mr. Nathaniel Camp- 
field, Robert Tichborn, alderman of London, Mark Hil- 
desley, Thomas Wood, John Sadies, William Goflf, 
Thomas St. Nicholas, William Parker, and Edward 
Cresset, Esquires. Five of these thirty-eight to be a 

52 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

quorum * and the person to be examined by them must 
bring a testimonial, subscribed by the hands of three 
persons of known goodness and integrity, one of whom, 
at least, must be a preacher of the gospel in some con- 
stant settled place, of holy and good conversation, &c. 

To such commissioners Mr. Wesley refers : and that 
they were generally Calvinists may be gathered from 
the fictitious names given to them in the above tract; 
viz., Dr. Absolute, Chairman; Mr. Fatalitie, Mr. Prae- 
terition, Mr. Fri-babe, Mr. Dam-man, Mr. Narrow-grace, 
alias Stint-grace, Mr. Efficax, Mr. Indefectible, Dr. Con- 
fidence, Mr. Dubious, Mr. Meanwell, Mr. Simulans, Mr. 
Take-p-trust, Mr. Know-little, and Mr. Impertinent. 
An abridgment of this trial was inserted by the late Mr. 
Wesley in the first volume of the Arminian Magazine. 

I believe Tilenus intended by these names to charac- 
terize the leading men among the Calvinists in that age. 
Baxter's manner is especially manifest by the remarks 
he puts into the mouth of Mr. Dubious. Perhaps Dr. 
Absolute might be designed to represent Dr. Twiss, a 
zealous asserter of the supralapsarian doctrine, and who 
had taken a very active part in the changes then intro- 
duced ; and who died a few years before the Tract was 

At such times as these it was certainly necessary to 
examine those who were candidates for the sacred mi- 
nistry ; as, from the best accounts we learn, there were 
great numbers then in the church who had neither gifts 
nor grace for the work ; and who were, besides, scanda- 
lous in their lives. It is a trite saying, but it is true, 
that " we must not argue against the use of a thing 
from its abuse." 

VII. Mr. Wesley, in defending his call to the minis- 
try, makes a distinction between the vocatio ad opus, " a 


call to the work," and vocaiio ad munus, " a call to the 
office," of the ministry ; and tells the Bishop that " he 
did not do office-work among the people, because they 
were not proper objects for office-work." 

By this distinction, which, as I apprehend it, is of 
some importance, he must mean, and so the Bishop 
understood him, that the people who sat under his mi- 
nistry, and were gathered from different parts, did not 
belong to any parish church, and were not as yet a con- 
solidated society ; that he had not instituted any code 
of discipline for their regulation ; and probably did not 
administer the sacraments among them, especially the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper. He was called to preach 
to them, but not to preside over them ; they were not 
. as yet fit for such office-work. In this sense Mr. Baxter 
uses the term in his life and times. 

It may not be thought unworthy of remark, that this 
was the plan followed by his grandson in respect to the 
lay preachers, so called, whom he associated with him- 
self in that great work to which God had especially 
appointed him. He believed they ah had from God 
himself the vocatio ad opus — an extraordinary call to the 
work of the ministry ; but he did not believe that they 
all had the vocatio ad munus — the call to the office ; and 
therefore he did not trust them to govern the societies, 
nor permit them to administer the sacraments. He kept 
the ecclesiastical government of all the societies in his 
own hands; appointed one preacher in each circuit, 
whom he called the assistant, i. e., one who assisted 
him in governing the societies ; but he seldom suffered 
any of them to administer the sacraments unless they 
had been ordained by himself, or were clergymen of the 
Church of England. I need scarcely state here, that 
all the other preachers in the different circuits were 

54 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

called helpers, that is, they helped the assistant in his 
work in the circuit, as he assisted Mr. Wesley in his 
general government of the whole connexion. 

VIII. Taking the vocatio ad munus in the ahove sense, 
it may be safely said that there are multitudes who ap- 
pear to have the vocatio ad opus — the gift of preaching, 
with every qualification necessary to make that gift 
powerful and extensively useful, who at the same time 
have no gifts for church government, and consequently 
no vocatio ad munus, no call to that part of the work. 
Nor are any persons, to use the words of old Mr. Wesley, 
fit objects of office-work till they are truly awakened to 
a sense of their sin and danger ; till they are gathered 
out of the world, and have solemnly determined to seek the 
salvation of their souls ; abstaining from every appear- 
ance of evil, and using all the means of grace. This 
is the sum of the conditions on which, from the begin- 
ning until now, members have been admitted into the 
Methodist societies. 

No people have ever made a wiser, more marked, and 
more salutary distinction between the vocatio ad opus 
and the vocatio ad munus than the Methodists have 
done. And to them God, in his great mercy, has now 
" given some apostles, and some prophets, and some 
evangelists, and some pastors and teachers ; for the per- 
fecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for 
the edifying of the body of Christ ; till we all come, in 
the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son 
of God, unto a perfect man ; unto the measure of the 
stature of the fulness of Christ." Eph. iv. 11 13. 

It cannot escape the notice and reflection of the reader, 
that Methodism, in its grand principles of economy, and 
the means by which they have been brought into action, 
has had its specific, healthy, though slowly vegetating, 


seeds in the original members of the Wesley family. 
We have an additional proof of this, — 

IX. In what Mr. Wesley tells the Bishop he con- 
sidered a sufficient evidence of his call to the ministry. 
1. Grace. 2. Gifts. 3. Fruit. To show that he had 
the two former, he offers to the Bishop to submit to any 
kind of trial or examination : and that he had fruit of 
his labours in every place where he had preached, — in 
the conversion of souls from gross ignorance and pro- 
faneness to the power of godliness, yea, the reality of 
religion, he strongly asserts ; and offers to prove to the 
Bishop that those his converts had in and upon them, 
i. e., in their religious experience and outward conduct, 
all the evidences of grace which are enumerated in com- 
mon-place books, or can be laid down from the Scrip- 
tures. And so confident was he of all these things, and 
consequently of his genuine call to the ministry, that he 
was willing to stand or fall by the proofs, and to be dis- 
charged from the ministry if these things were not so. 

How exactly do all these things tally in reference to 
the Methodist discipline on this great point ! No man 
is admitted to be a preacher among them, unless he be 
thus qualified and approved of God. Grace, gifts, and 
fruit are the grand requisites. Where these unequivo- 
cally meet in any person who offers himself to take a 
part in the great work to which God has called them, 
they without hesitation take for granted that the man is 
called of God. And it is because the ranks of the 
Methodist preachers continue to be filled up by such 
persons, and such only, that the great work is still 
carried on, and that their religious societies, constituted 
of such converts, are a blessing to the nation, and a 
praise in the earth. 

Though Mr. Wesley was thus instrumental in con- 

56 of mr. weslby's ancestors. 

verting tb>3 ignorant and profligate, and, consequently, 
in bettering the state of society, yet he was not per- 
mitted to proceed unmolested in his work. Luther, 
somewhere observes, Evangelium praedicare est furorem 
mundi in se derivare, " He who faithfully preaches the 
gospel is sure to bring down the rage of the world upon 
himself." The laws of Christ condemn a vicious world, 
and gall it to revenge. As religion gives no quarter to 
vice, so the vicious will give no quarter to religion. 

Mr. Wesley was not permitted to preach quietly at 
Whitchurch, even till ejected by the Act of Uniformity. 
In the beginning of the year 1661, he was seized upon 
the Lord's-day, as he was coming out of the church, 
and carried to Blandford, where he was committed to 
prison. After he had been some time confined, Sir 
Gerrard Napper, who had been the most furious of all 
his enemies, and the most forward in committing him, 
was so softened by a sad disaster he met with (the 
breaking of his collar-bone), that he applied to some 
persons to bail Mr. Wesley ; and told them, that if they 
would not, he would do it himself. He was therefore 
set at liberty ; but bound over to appear at the assizes, 
where he came off much better than he expected. 

Hutchins, in his History of Dorset, vol. i., p. 117, 
seems to refer to this imprisonment, where he says, " By 
an order of the privy council, dated July 24, 1661, it 
was directed he should be discharged from his then 
imprisonment, upon taking the oaths of supremacy and 
allegiance. He was taken accordingly before a magis- 
trate, who declined administering the oaths, but issued 
a warrant, dated July 29, 1661, directing him to be 
taken before the judges of the assizes and general gaol 
delivery, to be holden at Dorchester, the 1st of August 


He has recorded in his diary the particular mercy of 
God to him in raising up several friends to own him ; 
inclining a solicitor to plead for him; and restraining 
the wrath of man, so that even the judge, though a very 
choleric man, spoke not one angry word. The sum of 
the proceedings, as it stands in his diary, is as follows : 

Clerk. Call Mr. "Wesley of Whitchurch. 

Wesley. Here. 

Clerk. You were indicted for not reading the Com- 
mon Prayer. Will you traverse it ? 

A Solicitor. May it please your lordship, we desire 
this business may be deferred till next assizes. 

Judge. Why till then ? 

Solicitor. Our witnesses are not ready at present. 

Judge. Why not ready now? Why have you not 
prepared for a trial ? 

Solicitor. We thought our prosecutors would not 

Judge. Why so, young man? Why should you 
think so ? Why did you not provide them ? 

Wesley. May it please your lordship, I understand 
not the question. 

Judge. Why will you not read the Book of Common 
Prayer ? 

Wesley. The book was never tendered to me. 

Judge. Must the book be tendered to you ? 

Wesley. So I conceive by the Act. 

Judge. Are you ordained ? 

Wesley. I am ordained to preach the gospel. 

Judge. From whom ? 

Wesley. I have given an account thereof already to 
the bishop. 

Judge. What bishop ? 

Wesley. The bishop of Bristol. 

58 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

Judge. I say, by whom were you ordained ? How 
long is it since ? 

Wesley. Four or five years since. 

Judge. By whom then ? 

Wesley. By those who were then empowered. 

Judge. I thought so. Have you a presentation to 
your place? 

Wesley. I have. 

Judge. From whom ? 

Wesley. May it please your lordship, it is a legal 

Judge. By whom was it ? 

Wesley. By the trustees. 

Judge. Have you brought it ? 

Wesley. I have not. 

Judge. Why not ? 

Wesley. Because I did not think I should be asked 
any such questions here. 

Judge. I would wish you to read the Common 
Prayer at your peril. You will not say, "From all 
sedition and privy conspiracy ; from all false doctrine, 
heresy, and schism, — Good Lord, deliver us!" 

Clerk. Call Mr. Meech : [he was called and ap- 
peared.] Does Mr. Wesley read the Common Prayer 

Meech. May it please your lordship, he never did, 
nor he never will. 

Judge. Friend, how do you know that? He may 
bethink himself. 

Meech. He never did ; he never will. 

Solicitor. We will, when we see the new book, 
either read it, or leave our place at Bartholomew-tide. 

Judge. Are you not bound to read the old book till 
then? Let us see the Act. 


While the judge was reading to himself, another 
cause was called ; and Mr. Wesley was hound over to 
the next assizes. He came joyfully home, and preached 
constantly every Lord's-day till August 17, 1662, when 
he delivered his farewell sermon to a weeping audience, 
from Acts xx. 32: "And now, brethren, I commend 
you to God, and the word of his grace." 

On the 26th of October the place was, by an appa- 
ritor, declared vacant, and orders were given to sequester 
the profits ; but his people had already given him what 
was his due. 

On the 22nd of February following he removed with 
his family to Melcomb; but the corporation made an 
order against his settlement there, imposing a fine of 
201. upon his landlady, and five shillings per week on 
himself ', to be levied by. distress ! * He waited upon 
the mayor and some others, pleading that he had lived 

* "How the mayor and corporation of Weymouth and Melcombe 
Regis accomplished this, will be mentioned below. Since the re- 
moval of Mr. Wesley, different men were put in power, and mea- 
sures of another kind prevailed. Copies of communication from 
the government, acts of committees, and of the corporation, are 
preserved in two very large folio volumes, from which the writer 
is able to give extracts that have never thus seen the light before. 
The first is as follows : — 

' Dorstt., Waymouth and Melcombe-regis. 
' By the Comee : appointed for the well-governing and regulating 
of Corporations, assembled at Waymouth and Melcombe-regis, 
in the said county, the thirteenth day of October, 1662. 
' Whereas we find upon examination, that James Geare, Gent., 
Alexr. Clatworthy, Gent., Richard Harrison, Gent., Henry Rose, 
Gent., ffabian Hodder, Gent., and John Hodder, were heretofore 
illegally or unduly removed out of their places of Aldermen and 
Burgesses of the said Borough ; & that Samuel Cooke, Will. Bond, 
Stephen Abbott, John Senior, George Pley, & John Arthur, were 
illegally put into their said offices : Wee doe deeme it expediflnt 

60 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

in the town formerly, and had given notice of his design 
of coming thither again. He also offered to give secu- 
rity, which was all that their order required. But all 
was in vain ; for on the 11th of the following month 

for the publique safety, that the said Samuel Cooke, &c, be dis- 
placed & removed from their said respective offices arid places of 
Aldermen and Burgesses of the said Borough, and by this our 
order, under our hands and seales, we doe displace and remove the 
said Samuel Cooke, &c, from their said office and places, and doe 
likewise by this our order, under our hands and seales, restore the 
said James Gear, Alexr. Clatworthy, Richd. Harrison, Henry 
Rose, rfabian Hodder, & John Hodder, &c.' Signed by Ger : 
Naper, R. Banks, and seven other magistrates. 

" At the same time, an order was made by Sir Gerard Naper, 
R. Banks, and others, to remove, ' for the public safety,' John 
Eyres from the office of burgess ; Henry Waltham, merchant, and 
five others, were displaced because they refused to take the follow- 
ing oath : ' I doe declare that there lyes noe obligation upon mee, 
or on any other pson, from ye oath commonly called the solemn 
league and covenant, and that the same was in itself an unlawful! 
oath, and imposed upon the subjects of this realm against the 
known laws and liberties of the kingdom.' With these changes 
before us, and the recollection that persons approved by Sir Gerard 
Naper, &c, were called to fill the places of the aldermen and 
burgesses thus removed, we shall at once see the reason why good 
Mr. Wesley, who, but a few short years before, was so much re- 
spected in Weymouth, should, when driven from his parish, be 
refused even a lodging in this town, and why the corporation made 
an order against it. 

" For this order against Mr. Wesley's settlement in Weymouth 
the writer has carefully sought, but the borough records do not, at 
least in distinct terms, as far as he can find, contain it ; several 
facts are, however, discovered, which singularly synchronize with 
the diary, as given by Dr. Calamy. We find, before Mr. Wesley 
came to Weymouth, that he gave notice to the mayor of his inten- 
tion to go thither to reside again ; that on the 22nd of February, 
1663, he removed from Whitchurch for Melcomb, a distance of 
twenty miles ; that on his arrival, the corporation made an order 


(March) another order was drawn up for putting the 
former in execution. 

These violent proceedings forced him out of the town ; 
and he went to Ilminster, Bridgewater, and Taunton, in 

against his settlement in the town ; the landlady who received him 
was fined twenty pounds, and five shillings per week was imposed 
on him, to be levied by distress. He waited on the mayor and some 
others, pleaded his having lived in the town some time formerly, 
and offered to give security, which was all that their order re- 
quired ; but all was of no avail ; in the beginning of March another 
order was drawn up, for putting the former in execution. 

" It is a fact worthy of notice, that the borough records do not 
mention any meeting of the corporation, in the early part of 1663, 
but of the dates which immediately follow : — 

' Mr. Maior, 17 ffebruary, 1663,' 
when reference was made to some John Dudley, who was bound to 
keep the peace of the borough. 
' Mr. Maior Yardley, and Mr. Bailiff Clatworthy, 24 ffebr., 1663.' 

This Mr. Bailiff Clatworthy is the person who was placed in the 
corporation by Sir Gerard Naper. The recorded business of this 
meeting is, that John Elbome, George Parry, Samuel Roberts, 
&c, were not to " dresse, sell, or utter any flesh during the tyme 
of this present Lent." Singular as it may appear in the present 
day, an office for granting licenses to eat flesh in any part of 
England, was opened in St. Paul's Church Yard, and advertised 
in the public papers so lately as anno 1663. — Wilson's De Foe, 
vol. i., p. 43. 

' Mr. Maior Yardley, 1 Martii, 1663.' 
When an entry is made in reference to some one of the name of 
John, apparently it is John fferry. The entry is in Latin, and 
singularly abbreviated. 20, and the following words, ' quod Johes 
ad XX pacis com. Dorstt.," with some distinctness appear. A 
widow was presented at the sessions held at Weymouth, the 21st 
of September, 1663. What her crime then was is not very appa- 
rent ; but in a previous entry the following charge may be found : 
• quia non negavit virum intr. domum suam,'— because she had 
not refused admittance to some unnamed person into her house. 

62 of mr. wbslby's ancestors. 

all which places he met with great kindness and friend- 
ship from the three denominations of dissenters, and 
was almost every day employed in preaching in those 
several places ; where he also got some good acquaint- 
ance and friends, who were afterwards very kind to him 
and his numerous family. 

At length a gentleman, who had a very good house at 
Preston, near Weymouth, two or three miles from Mel- 
comb,* permitted him to live in it without paying any 

Another singular entry soon follows : ' At a hall held on ffryday, 
the XXVI. day of August, 1664. This day the ffyne set on Joan 
Baily, widow, in Waymouth, late of XX£. for a comon nusante 
by her there comttd, is by a generall consent of the Maior, Alder- 
men, Burgesses, and Comnlty present, reduced to three pounds 
ffyne, to be paid, XXs. at Michas. next, and XXs. quarterly, till it 
be payd to Mr. Treasurer for the time being.' Whatever this 
nuisance was, there is a very observable distinctness in noticing 
the consent of every party, namely, the Mayor, Aldermen, Bur- 
gesses, and Commonalty, to the remission of a great part of the 
fine, as if the act were of some importance ; and if objections or 
complaint should be made from any quarter, no one part of the 
corporation could have any plea against the other, for what had 
been done. 

" These documents are copied to show that the corporation did 
meet about the time (and only then, in the early part of 1663, as 
faT as these records afford evidence) when, it may be presumed, 
Mr. Wesley gave notice of his intention, namely, a week before 
his removal ; the second meeting was held when he had resided 
one day in Weymouth ; the third in March, as stated in his diary ; 
the latter says the 11th of March. In the borough records, the 
date appears to be 1 Martii ; the entries are singular ; they refer 
to some acts which took place at the time he came to and retired 
from Weymouth : it will not be affirmed that they either refer to 
him, or to the widow, his landlady, who was fined twenty pounds 
for her act of hospitality to a persecuted and injured outcast. The 
reader will observe the dates, names, and circumstances, and form 
his own opinion thereon." — Beat's "Fathers." 


rent. Thither he removed his family in the beginning 
of May, 1663; and there he continued while he lived, 
excepting a temporary absence shortly to be noticed. 
He records his coming to Preston, and his comfortable 
accommodation there, with great admiration and thank- 
fulness to God. 

We must now follow him in his further projects and 

"When the great Head of the church calls a man to 
preach the gospel, he in effect says, "Go into all the 
world, and preach the gospel to every creature." He 
never confines his own gift and call absolutely to any 
particular place, but leaves them under the direction 
and management of his own providence. The call of 
God to preach is a missionary call ; and they who have 
it know that they are not their own, and must do the 
Master s work in the Master's own way, place, and time. 
Hence all the ministers of his gospel have a missionary 
spirit ; let providence direct, as it chooses, their way. 

It is worthy of remark, that this excellent man, like 
his grandson long after him, felt a strong desire to visit 
the continent of America. Surinam, a settlement of 
South America, in Guiana, was the first object in the 
contemplation of his missionary zeal. 

This settlement was visited in 1579 by Sir Walter 
Raleigh, but not colonized. In 1634 David Piterse de 
Vries, a Dutchman, found there a Captain Marshal, 
with about sixty English. In 1650, Francis Lord Wil- 
loughby, of Parham, by permission of Charles II., sent 
thither some vessels to take possession of the settlement 
in the name of his royal master ; and in 1662, this set- 

* Commonly called Melcomb-Regis, to distinguish it from a 
small parish in the centre of the county. 

64 op mr. weslby's ancestors. 

tlement wis granted by Charles to Lord Willoughby 
and Lawrence Hyde, second son of the Earl of Claren- 
don, to them and their descendants for ever. 

Mr. Wesley no doubt thought that the desolate state 
of this colony, in respect to spiritual things, might afford 
a fair and undisturbed field of usefulness. This pur- 
pose, however, was abandoned ; as was also another of 
going to Maryland. The advice of friends prevailed ; 
and probably the difficulty and expense of removing a 
numerous family so far were the chief impediments. 
Indeed, such a removal, in his circumstances, must have 
been all but impossible. He therefore made up his mind 
to abide in the land of his nativity ; to be at the disposal 
of Divine Providence, relying on the promise, " Verily, 
thou shalt be fed." 

Being often out of employ, and not willing to be 
without public worship, he would gladly have attended 
the church service : but there were several things in 
the Liturgy to which he could not give a conscientious 
assent. However, by reading Mr. Philip Nye's " Argu- 
ments for the Lawfulness of hearing Ministers of the 
Church of England," his scruples were so far removed 
that he. found he could do it with a safe conscience ; 
and doubtless to his edification. 

At this same time Mr. Wesley was not a little trou- 
bled about his own preaching ; whether it should be 
carried on openly, or in private. Some of the neigh- 
bouring ministers, particularly Messrs. Bamfield, Ince, 
Hallet of Shaston, and John Sacheverel, were for preach- 
ing publicly, with open doors. But Mr. Wesley thought 
it was his duty to beware of men ; and that he was 
bound in prudence to keep himself at liberty as long as 
he could. Accordingly, by preaching only in private, 
he was kept longer out of the hands of his enemies 


than the ministers above mentioned, all of whom were 
indicted at the next assizes " for a riotous and unlawful 
assembly held at Shaston ; and were found guilty by a 
jury of gentlemen, fined forty marks each, and were 
bound to find security for their good behaviour;" or, 
in other words, that they would not speak any more in 
the blessed name of Jesus, but be unfaithful to their 
heavenly calling, and permit the devil, unmolested, to 
destroy the souls of the people. 

Burnett, in his history, mentions Mr. Sacheverel and 
himself being imprisoned together in Dorchester gaol ; 
during which time, they took it by turns to preach- out 
of a window, to a considerable number of people, that 
stood to hear on the other side of the river. The latter 
of these excellent men was grandfather to the famous 
Dr. Henry Sacheverel. During the three years he re- 
mained in confinement, he contracted such an indispo- 
sition, that, from a very cheerful active person, lie became 
melancholy, and soon ended his days. He died in his 
chair, speaking to those about him, with much affection, 
of the great work of redemption. He wrote on the 
title-page of all his books, " For me to live is Christ, 
and to die is gain ;" and this text was in consequence 
engraved on his tomb-stone. 

The stopping of the mouths of these faithful men was 
a general curse to the nation. A torrent of iniquity, 
deep, rapid, and strong, deluged the whole land, and 
swept away godliness and vital religion from the king- 
dom. The king had no religion, either in power or in 
form, though a papist in his heart. He was the most 
worthless that ever sat on the British throne, and profli- 
gate beyond all measure ; without a single good quality 
to redeem his numerous bad ones : and the church and 
the state joined hand in hand in persecution and in- 

66 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

tolerance. • Since those barbarous and iniquitous times, 
what hath God wrought ! 

There was now no open vision, and the pure word of 
the Lord was scarce in those days. Most of the faithful 
of the land were either silenced, as to public preaching, 
or shut up in prison ; and the rest were hidden in cor- 
ners. Mr. "Wesley, in a private manner, preached fre- 
quently to a few good people at Preston, a small village 
three miles from Weymouth, and occasionally at "Wey- 
mouth itself, and other places contiguous. After some 
time he had a call from a number of serious Christians 
at Poole to become their pastor. He consented; and 
continued with them while he lived, administering to 
them all the ordinances of God as opportunity offered. 

In the parliament held at Oxford (17 Car. II., 1665), 
a severe act was passed against the dissenting teachers, 
prohibiting them from dwelling or coming (except in 
travelling, &c.) within five miles of any corporation or 
borough town, or any other place where they had been 
ministers, or preached after the act of oblivion, on the 
penalty of forty pounds for each offence ; unless they 
first took the following oath : — 

" I, A. B., do solemnly declare that it is not law- 
ful, on any pretence whatsoever, to take up arms 
against the king ; and that I do abhor the traitor- 
ous position of taking arms by his authority, against 
his person, or against those that are commissioned 
by him, in pursuance of such commission. And 
I do swear that I will not, at any time to come, 
endeavour the alteration of the Government, either 
in Church or State. So help me, God." 
Archbishop Sheldon, and "Ward, Bishop of Salisbury, 
were the chief promoters of this Act. When it came 
out, those ministers who had any property of their own 


retired to obscure villages, or to market-towns that were 
not corporations; and some, who had nothing, were 
obliged to leave their wives and children, and hide them- 
selves in distant places, sometimes coming secretly to 
them after night. 

Poole being a corporation town, to avoid coming 
under the five mile Act, Mr. Wesley resided in Preston, 
and exercised his ministry in Poole ; but oftentimes he 
was obliged to leave his wife, his family, and his flock, 
and secrete himself, like others, in various places. He 
could not conscientiously take the above oath, because 
of the last clause, " I do swear that I will not, at any 
time to come, endeavour the alteration of the Govern- 
ment, either in Church or State." 

All the Dissenters had strenuously endeavoured to 
alter the government in the church, or rather to reform 
it ; as they considered several parts as savouring of su- 
perstition, and tending to Popery ; and on this the dissent 
of many of them was founded. Everything they might 
say against those points of Popery which seemed coun- 
tenanced in any part of the liturgy might be considered 
by their adversaries as an endeavouring to alter the gov- 
ernment of the church, and consequently expose them to 
prosecution, persecution, and the alleged infamyof perjury. 

Under the date of 1666, Mr. Wesley entered in his 
diary, in the month of March, on reaching the place of 
his retirement, " What dost thou here, at such a distance 
from church, wife, children, &c. V and then penned 
some of the reasons why he could not safely take this 
oath ; particularly, that to do it in his own private sense 
would be juggling with God, with the king, and with 
conscience ; especially as some magistrates had declared 
they had no right to admit of such a private sense. He 
was therefore obliged to leave home for a considerable 

68 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

time. He at length ventured to return to his family 
and flock : but, notwithstanding all the prudent pre- 
caution with which he conducted his meetings, he was 
often disturbed, several times apprehended, and four 
times imprisoned; once at Poole for six months, and 
once at Dorchester for three months. The other con- 
finements were shorter : but how long their duration 
was we are not told. * 

* The borough records thus refer to the conventicle meetings. 
" Dorstt. Waymouth and Melcombe Regis : — Bee it remem- 
bered, that on the ninth day of July, Anno Dmi. 1665, Matthew 
Pitt, James Budd, Barthw. Beere, Robert Dun, Henry Dunbar, 
Robert Roberts, Thos. Woodrow, John Owner, the elder, John 
Tucker, and Thos. Randall, all of Melcombe-regis aforesaid, and 
William Markett of Broadmayne, being all of them of the age of 
fifteen years and upwards, were present at an assembly, conven- 
ticle, or meeting, under coir or pretence of some servisse of reli- 
gion, in other manner than is allowed by the Liturgy or practice of 
the Church of England, in the dwelling-house of Henry Saunders, 
within the corporation aforesaid, mariner, where there were more 
than the before-named persons assembled together, over and above 
those of the same household, contrary to an act of Parliament, inti- 
tuled, An Act to prevent seditious conventicles, of which said con- 
venticle they were all convicted ; witness the hands and scales of 
" Theo. Byett, Maior ; Richd. Scovill, and 
" Chhistk. Collier, Bailiffs." 

On the sixteenth of July, 1665, " Dorothy White, Spinster ■ 
Erasmus Browne, John Sadler, Humfry Bennett, Benjamin Slow- 
man, and Dorothy Saunders, the wife of Henry Saunders, mariner 
all of Waymouth and Melcombe-regis ; were convicted of holding 
a conventicle at the house of Henry Saunders ;" and which con- 
viction is given at length, in the form above, and before the same 
mayor and bailiffs. 

On the third day of June, 1666, Elizth. Cross, of Melcombe- 
regis and thirty-five others, were, on the oaths of Jonathan Ed- 
wards and Henry Brettyent, convicted of being at a conventicle 
in the house of Henry Saunders, mariner, of Melcombe-regis ; some 


Dr. Calamy adds, " that he was in many straits and 
difficulties, but was wonderfully supported and com- 
forted, and was many times very seasonably and surpris- 
ingly relieved and delivered. Nevertheless, the removal 
of many eminent Christians into another world, who 
had been his intimate acquaintance and kind friends, 
the great decay of serious religion among many pro- 
fessors, and the increasing rage of the enemies of real 
godliness, manifestly seized on and sunk his spirits. At 
length, 'having filled up his part of what is behind of 

of whom were fined, and others imprisoned, some for six weeks, 
and others for three months and a day, in the town gaol, by order 

" Benjn. Gaitch, Maior ; and 
Nath. Abbott, Bailiff." 

Elzth. Crosse, Katherine Barker, Henry Dumberfield, James 
Budd, Elizth Randall, Katherine Wall, Elizth ffoyle, Rebecca 
Senior, Matthew Pitt, Alice Locke, John Chines, Katherine Batche- 
lor, Mary Chines, Alice Roberts, Edith Woodrow, ffrances Mar- 
kett, Hugh Piercy, Dorothy Saunders, Sarah Harvey, Martha 
Maker, Edward Tucker, John Wilson, Richard Harvest, Erasmus 
Browne, John Owner, Richard Tucker, ffrancis Dumberfield, of 
Cerne, Mary Roberts, Hannah Bower, of Dorchester, Hester 
Stowill, Hannah Senior, P. Kinglake, Susannah Senior, Sarah 
Wilson, Jane Hammill, and Dorothy King." 

" We have committed to the town gaol, there to remaine by the 
space of as followeth ; that is to say, the said Matthew Pitt, James 
Budd, Henry Dumberfield, and Dorothy Saunders, by the space 
of three months and one day next ensuing, it being the second 
offence of which they stand convicted. And the aforesaid John 
Owner and Mary Roberts, by the space of six weeks and one day 
next ensuing ; it being the first offence of which they stand con- 
victed. Those who paid the ffynes we have discharged. 

" Witnesse our handes and seales, this sixth day of June, 1666. 
" Benjamin Gaitcii, Maior, 
Nath. Abbott, Bailiff." 
These were the days, events, and sufferings of the elder Wesleys. 

70 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

the afflictions of Christ in his flesh, for his body's sake, 
which is the church, and finished the work given him 
to do,' he was taken out of this vale of tears to that 
world where the wicked cease from troubling, and the 
weary are at rest ; when he had not been much longer 
an inhabitant here below than his blessed Master was, 
whom he served with his whole heart, according to the 
best light he had." — Noncon. Memor., Vol. II., p. 164, &c. 
It appears that application was made to have him 
buried in the church at Preston ; but the vicar would 
not suffer it. 

It is to be regretted that Dr. Calamy, who had the 
journal of this excellent man, gives so few dates, and 
particularly in those places where they were especially 
needful. He neither mentions the year of his birth, 
nor that of his death. He tells us only, " that he began 
preaching when he was twenty-two, and in May, 1658, 
was sent to preach at Whitchurch." Now, if this means 
May of the year 1658, in which he was twenty-two years 
of age, then he must have been born about A. D., 

Dr. Whitehead, who gives an abstract of Dr. Calamy's 
account of this good man, concludes it with the follow- 
ing reflections : " 1. Mr. Wesley appears to have made 
himself master of the controverted points in which he 
differed from the established church, and to have made 
up his opinions from a conviction of their truth. 2. He 
shows an ingenuous mind, free from low cunning, in 
the open avowal of his sentiments to the bishop. 3. He 
appears to have been remarkably conscientious in all his 
conduct, and a zealous promoter of genuine piety both 
in himself and others. 4. He discovered great firmness 
of mind, and an unshaken attachment to his principles, 
in the midst of the most unchristian persecution, and 


a train of accumulated evils which he suffered on that 

" These are prominent features in his character which 
we cannQt but admire, however we may differ from him 
in opinion : they show a mind elevated far above the 
common level, even of those who have had the advan- 
tages of an academical education." 

There is a very fine painting of this excellent man 
now in the possession of Mr. Cropp, of Vincent Square, 
Westminster. On the back of the painting is the fol- 
lowing inscription : " Copied from the back of this por- 
trait before it was restored — ' John Wesley, A. M., of 
New Inn Hall, Oxford, Grandfather to the late cele- 
brated Mr. J. Wesley, ejected for Nonconformity.'" 
The following paragraph, which appeared in the Times 
newspaper of Dec. 16, 1829, seems to refer also to John 
Wesley, of Whitchurch. 

" There is now in the possession of a gentleman at 
Manchester an old Bible, in good condition, which con- 
tains about a thousand copper-plate engravings, and 
maps of all the ancient places mentioned in Scripture ; 
as also the Apocrypha, and the Psalms of David in 
metre. This Bible formerly belonged to the grandfather 
of John Wesley. It also belonged to his father. It was 
in the house when it was on fire, but was saved from the 
conquering element, and handed down to the present 
possessor as a valuable relic." 

Mrs. Wesley long survived her husband ; but how 
long we cannot exactly tell. In a letter of Mr. Samuel 
Wesley, Jun., in 1710, he speaks of having " visited his 
grandmother Wesley, then a widow of almost forty-eight 
years." So long as this she could not have been a widow, 
agreeably to the dates of other documents, unless the 
letter had been written subsequent to 1710, and an error 

72 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

i •• 

thus made in transcribing the original. Mr. John "Wes- 
ley, her husband, must have died about 1678, and not, 
as Dr. "Whitehead and others conclude, in 1670; for 
Mr. Samuel "Wesley says (in his letter printed in 1703, 
which will be hereafter noticed), "My father dying early, 
while I was at a country school, and almost fit for the 
university, I was sent to London, March 8, 1678." Mr. 
Wesley at this time was about twelve years old, and 
continued a year longer at a grammar-school before he 
entered the dissenting academies, "where he remained 
about four years, and was entered at Exeter College 
Aug. 1683, being then between sixteen and seventeen 
years of age. If we date his father's birth 1636, and his 
own birth 1666, he would thus be about seventeen years 
of age at the period alluded to ; his father dying about 
the forty-second year of his age, which, supposing the 
grandson's letter not to be at a date subsequent to 1710, 
will still allow a period of thirty-two years for a state 
of widowhood. This, too, comports better with the 
account handed down respecting his " numerous family" 
which scarcely harmonizes with his dying at the age of 
thirty-four, the period partly fixed by Dr. Calamy, who, 
as has been observed, says, " He was taken out of this 
vale of tears when he had not been much longer an 
inhabitant here below than his blessed Lord and Master 

It does not appear that this venerable widow had any 
help from her own family ; and there is reason to believe 
that she was entirely dependant on and supported by her 
sons Matthew and Samuel. How far the former may 
have contributed to her support it is not easy to say; 
but that, she was deeply indebted to the latter I learn 
from one of his letters to Archbishop Sharpe, dated Ep- 
worth, December 30, 1700. 


" The next year my barn fell, which cost me forty 
pounds in rebuilding (thanks to your Grace for a part of 
it) ; and having an aged mother (who must have gone 
to prison if I had not assisted her), she cost me upwards 
of forty pounds more. Ten pounds a-year I allow my 
mother to keep her from starving." 

How doleful was the lot of this poor woman ! perse- 
cuted with her husband during the whole of her married 
life, and abandoned to poverty during a long and dreary 


We have already seen that the Rev. John Wesley, 
ejected from the vicarage of Whitchurch, in Dorsetshire, 
of whom I have lately spoken, is said to have had a 
numerous family. But the names of Matthew and 
Samuel only are come down to us. Whether the others 
died young, or survived their father, we are not informed : 
but it is most likely that the rest died in infancy, as 
not even the name of any of them is ever mentioned. 

Matthew, after the example of his grandfather Bar- 
tholomew, studied physic, and settled in London ; after 
having travelled over the greatest part of Europe for his 
improvement. He is reported to have been eminent 
and singularly useful, and is said to have made a large 
fortune by his medical practice. 

It is not likely that his father could have given him 
an academic education. But as he taught a school for 
the support of his family, for which he appears to have 
been well qualified, no doubt his sons, particularly Mat- 
thew, who was the eldest, had the rudiments of a clas- 
sical education from himself, as he was at the death of 
his father probably about fourteen or fifteen years of age. 
And it is very likely that he might have obtained addi- 

74 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

tional instruction at the free-school in Dorchester, and 
in some of the dissenting academies, as we know his 
brother Samuel did.* 

Though Matthew be generally styled a physician, yet 
we do not know that he ever graduated, or studied in 
any university, unless it were in a foreign one ; and this 
is not improbable, as, from a passage in the following 
letter from Mrs. Wesley, it appears that Mr. M. Wesley 
had tried all the spas in Europe, both in Germany and 
elsewhere. Former times were not so nice in distinc- 
tions as the present : surgeons, apothecaries, and medical 
practitioners of all sorts, were generally termed physicians 
or doctors : the latter was the most usual title ; and this 
Matthew Wesley might have had by common courtesy, 
or he might have had it by right. But it is most likely 
that he had it by courtesy, as he is not styled physician, 
M. D., nor even doctor, in the verses addressed to his 
memory by the person who signs himself Sylvius, in the 
very year in which he died. Besides, he is not termed 
doctor in any of the family letters which have come 
under my notice. This at present is a matter of little 

* There is some reason to believe he was a member of the 
Athenian Society, and that Eldon in his history of that society 
refers to him, when, in describing its members, he says, " I can- 
not pass over the physician, whom he calls a (earned, good, and 
ingenious man, and so generous, that he could never be prevailed 
with to admit of any other consideration for his trouble in this 
affair, than the good of the public. Yet he is far from condemning 
those whose circumstances will not allow them to imitate him in 
this generosity, since it is as lawful for a man to live by his pen, as 
any other way." Dunton, in the advertisement to the 13th No. of 
his Gazette, seems also to allude to him, in saying, "We have 
now taken into our Society a civilian, a doctor of physic, and a 


consequence, and cannot now be determined. The whole 
family of the Wesleys were blessed with a genius that 
surmounted all difficulties : opposition and unfavourable 
circumstances only served as a stimulus to industry and 
enterprise ; and they ever rose the higher in proportion 
to the causes which tended to depress them. This is 
the grand characteristic of all the branches of this family 
with whom we are acquainted ; and we may safely infer 
it was the case with the rest. 

Mr. M. Wesley resided and practised chiefly in Lon- 
don. In the year 1731 he visited his brothers family at 
Epworth. This visit is described by Mrs. Wesley in a 
letter to her son John, who was then at Oxford ; and as 
it contains some curious particulars, I shall lay it before 
the reader. 

" My brother Wesley had designed to have surprised 
us, and had travelled under a feigned name from London 
to Gainsborough : but there, sending his man out for a 
guide into the Isle the next day, the man told one that 
keeps our market his masters name, and that he was 
going to see his brother, which was minister of Epworth. 
The man he informed met with Molly in the market 
about an hour before my brother got thither. She, full 
of the news, hastened home, and told us her uncle 
Wesley was coming to see us ; but we could hardly 
believe her. 'Twas odd to observe how all the town 
took the alarm, and were upon the gaze, as if some 
great prince had been about to make his entry. He rode 
directly to John Dawson's (the inn) ; but we had soon 
notice of his arrival, and sent John Brown with an in- 
vitation to our house. He expressed some displeasure 
at his servant for letting us know of his coming ; for he 
intended to have sent for Mr. Wesley to dine with him 
at Dawson's, and then come to visit us in the afternoon. 
e 2 

76 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 


However, he soon followed John home, where we were 
all ready to receive him with great satisfaction. 

"His behaviour among us was perfectly civil and 
obliging. He spake little to the children the first day, 
being employed (as he afterwards told them) in observing 
their carriage, and seeing how he liked them ; afterwards 
he was very free, and expressed great kindness to them all. 

" He was strangely scandalized at the poverty of our 
furniture, and much more at the meanness of the chil- 
dren's habit. He always talked more freely with your 
sisters of our circumstances than to me ; and told them 
he wondered what his brother had done with his income, 
for 'twas visible he had not spent it in furnishing his 
house or clothing his family. 

" We had a little talk together sometimes, but it was 
not often we could hold a private conference ; and he 
was very shy of speaking any thing relating to the chil- 
dren before your father, or indeed of any other matter. 
I informed him, as far as I handsomely could, of our 
losses, &c, for I was afraid that he should think I was 
about to beg of him : but the girls (with whom he had 
many private discourses), I believe, told him every thing 
they could think on. 

" He was particularly pleased with Patty ; and one 
morning, before Mr. Wesley came down, he asked me if 
I was willing to let Patty go and stay a year or two 
with him at London. ' Sister,' says he, ' I have endea- 
voured already to make one of your children easy while 
she lives ; and if you please to trust Patty with me, I 
will endeavour to make her so too.' Whatever others 
may think, I thought this a generous offer ; and the 
more so, because he had done so much for Sukey and 
Hetty. I expressed my gratitude as well as I could ; 
and would have had him speak to your father, but he 


would not himself, he left that to me ; nor did he ever 
mention it to Mr. "Wesley till the evening before he 
left ns. 

" He always behaved himself very decently at family 
prayers, and in your father's absence said grace for us 
before and after meat. Nor did he ever interrupt our 
privacy ; but went into his own chamber when we went 
into ours. 

" He staid from Thursday to the Wednesday after ; 
then he left us to go to Scarborough ; from whence he 
returned the Saturday se'nnight after, intending to stay 
with us a few days ; but finding your sisters gone the 
day before to Lincoln, he would leave us on Sunday 
morning, for he said he might see the girls before they 
set forward for London. He overtook them at Lincoln ; 
and had Mrs. Taylor, Emily, Kezzy, with the rest, to 
supper with him at the Angel. On Monday they break- 
fasted with him ; then they parted, expecting to see him 
no more till they came to London : but on Wednesday 
he sent his man to invite them to supper at night. On 
Thursday he invited them to dinner, at night to supper, 
and on Friday morning to breakfast ; when he took his 
leave of them, and rode for London. They got into town 
on Saturday about noon ; and that evening Patty writ 
me an account of her journey. 

" Before Mr. Wesley went to Scarborough I informed 
him of what I knew of Mr. Morgan's* case. When he 
came back he told me that 'he had tried the spa at 
Scarborough, and could assure me that it far excelled all 
the spas in Europe, for he had been at them all, both in 
Germany and elsewhere ; that at Scarborough there were 

* One of Mr. John Wesley's early associates, who died the 
following year (Sept., 1732). 

E 3 

78 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

two springs^ as he was informed, close together, which 
flowed into one bason ; the one a chalybeate, the other 
a purging water ; and he did not believe there was the 
like in any part of the world.' Says he, ' If that gentle- 
man you told me of could by any means be gotten 
thither, though his age is the most dangerous time in 
life for his distemper, yet I am of opinion those waters 
would cure him.' I thought good to tell you this, that 
you might, if you please, inform Mr. Morgan of it. 

" Dear Jackey, I can't stay now to talk about Hetty 
and Patty ; but this — I hope better of both than some 
others do. I pray God to bless you. Adieu. 

"July 12, 1731. "S. W." 

There does not appear to have been much intimacy 
between Matthew Wesley and his brother Samuel. 
Though Mr. Matthew Wesley was no zealot, yet the 
religious change of his brother did not, I am led to think, 
please him ; and hence a distance was naturally occa- 
sioned between the two brothers. Mr. Matthew Wesley 
was also a careful economist, got his wealth with diffi- 
culty, and knowing little of the troubles of a family, 
could ill judge of domestic expenses upon a large scale. 

It was most probably just after the visit mentioned 
above that he wrote a severe and caustic letter to his 
brother, accusing him of bad economy, and of not making 
provision for his large family; and indirectly blaming 
him for having become a married man. 

This severe letter Mr. S. Wesley answers in a sort of 
serio-jocose style, and amply vindicates the whole of his 
conduct against what he calls the imputation of his ill 

Of the letter of Mr. Matthew only an extract remains 
in the hand-writing of his brother Samuel. I shall give 


it here, and refer the reader for Mr. S. "Wesley's defence 
to the memoirs which I have collected of his life. The 
letter, which is without date, begins thus : — 

" The same record which assures us an infidel cannot 
inherit the kingdom of heaven, also asserts in the con- 
sequence that a worse than an infidel can never do it. 
It likewise describes the character of sueh an one : 'He 
provides not for his own, especially those of his own 

" You have a numerous offspring ; you have had a 
long time a plentiful estate ; great and generous bene- 
factions ; and have made no provision for those of your 
own house, who can have nothing in view at your exit 
but distress. This I think a black account; let the 
cause be folly, or vanity, or ungovernable appetites. I 
hope Providence has restored you again to give you time 
to settle this balance, which shocks me to think of. To 
this end I must advise you to be frequent in your perusal 
of Father Beveridge on repentance, and Dr. Tillotson 
on restitution ; for it is not saying Lord, Lord, will 
bring us to the kingdom of heaven, but doing justice to 
all our fellow-creatures ; and not a poetical imagination 
that we do so. A serious consideration of these things, 
and suitable actions, I doubt not, will qualify you to 
meet me where sorrow shall be no more, which is the 
highest hope and expectation of yours, &c. " 

This language is too severe, even had the occasion 
generally justified the critique. Had Mr. S. Wesley 
acted according to the suggestions of his brother Mat- 
thew, John and Charles Wesley had probably never 
been born : and who can say that the great light which 
they were the instruments in the hand of God of pour- 
ing out upon the land, and spreading among the nations 
of the earth, had ever been diffused by any other means ? 

80 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

The straits 'and difficulties of the other branch of this 
family were circumstances -which, in the order of God, 
helped to turn the minds of those eminent reformers to 
that economy and discipline which in process of time 
they introduced into the Methodist societies, for which 
those societies are remarkable, and by which they are 
distinguished to the present day. 

Men should be aware how they arraign the dispensa- 
tions and ordinances of Divine Providence. It is not 
good for man to be alone ; therefore God instituted 
marriage. He who marries does well ; and it is only in 
the case of a general persecution of the church that he 
who does not marry does better. 

Surgeon Wesley is extinct. Samuel, his brother, still 
lives in his natural and spiritual progeny. God has 
crowned him with honour ; and it is with difficulty that 
the name of his brother has been rescued from oblivion. 

Mr. M. "Wesley was, however, a good and excellent 
man in his way; but appears to have been little ac- 
quainted with the heart, the feelings, the joys, and 
sorrows of a parent. 

"We know more of the character of Surgeon Wesley 
from some lines to his memory written by Mrs. Wright, 
than from any other source. 

In the Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1737, p. 248, 
she writes, under the assumed name of Sylvius, some 
lines on her uncle's recovery from sickness. His re- 
storation, however, was apparently enjoyed but for a 
short period, since the number for June contains another 
poetical tribute to his memory, which was in all proba- 
bility published immediately on his demise. The first 
tributary piece is the following : — 



" Deprest with pains unfelt before, 

My muse her wonted strain forbore ; 

Sad melancholy seized my mind, 

To books or converse disinclined, 

And dark ideas filled my brain 

Of chronic ills, and years of pain ; 

Whatever image pictures life 

Of grief expressive, pain and strife : 

A journey through a dreary way, 

A gloomy sky, a stormy day, 

A voyage through impetuous wavea, 

Where Scylla barks, Charybdis raves, 

Where ambushed rocks, and quicksands wait 

And every billow threatens fate ; 

These, uninvited, crowd my thought, 

A region all with vapours fraught. 

Yet still, amidst this anxious care, 

I bar my bosom from despair, 

Solicit Patience, heavenly guest, 

To fortify my feeble breast. 

She, welcome friend, with lenient art, 

Can lessen pain, and ease impart j 

Or with her lore the soul incline 

To bear distress, and not repine ; 

When Providence this power bestowed, 

He lightened half our penal load • 

At her approach, my throbs decrease, 

My mental tumult sinks to peace. 

Nor long my absent health I mourned, 

The rosy goddess soon returned, 

My wasted strength again supplies, 

And bids my drooping spirits rise. 

Be first my thankful tribute given 

To thy dispose, all-grateful Heaven ' 

Thy providential care ordains 

My share of pleasures and of pains. 

J Tis thine, that first I drew my breath,, 

Thine are the issues, too, from death. 

82 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

Nor be the due returns withheld 

To Wesley, sage, in medicine skilled ; 

Whose kindly draughts our pains assuage, 

And make diseases cease to rage, 

As heaven was pleased by him to save, 

And disappoint the gaping grave. 

Ungrateful ! worthless ! were my lays, 

Should I forget Urbanus' praise ; 

'Twas owing to his friendly care 

I breathed at ease the rural air, 

Her ample bounds where Reading spreads, 

Where Kennet winds along the meads, 

Where Thomson the retreat approves, 

By streams refreshed, and gloomed with groves, 

Where, from Cadogan's lofty seat, 

Our view surrounding landscapes greet. 

'Twas there he made my leisure blest, 

There waked the muse within my breast, 

While his improving converse joined 

At once both cheered and raised my mind." 

Gentleman's Magazine, 1737, p. 248. 

For further notices of the Wesleys, and Sylvius, see 
Gentleman's Magazine, 1735, pp. 215, 332, 379, 551, 
559; 1736, pp. 155, 740; 1737, pp. 179, 307, 318, 
374; 1785, p. 758, &c. 

From the lines on his death, particularly, we learn that 
he was a man of a truly benevolent mind ; had much 
learning and information ; greatly excelled in his own 
profession, particularly in all feminine cases ; was a good 
judge and lover of poetry ; was useful to his brother 
Samuel's large family ; was the particular patron, friend, 
and support of his niece Mehetabel ; and that he was 
adorned with every art and grace, and saved from the 
fear of death. He breathed his last, leaning on her 
bosom, some time, as has been intimatec^ in the year 



I shall insert also the verses on his death, so honour- 
able both to the uncle and his niece. They are written 
in the purest spirit of poetry, friendship, and feeling ; 
and appeared first in the Christian Magazine, vol. iii., p. 
284. Clio is her assumed poetic name ; Varro that of 
her uncle : — 

How can the muse attempt the string, 

Forsaken by her guardian power 1 
Ah me ! that she survives to sing 

Her friend and patron now no more 1 
Yet private grief she might suppress, 

Since Clio bears no selfish mind ; 
But oh ! she mourns, to wild excess, 

The friend and patron of mankind. 
Alas ! the sovereign healing art, 

Which rescued thousands from the grave, 
Unaided left the gentlest heart, 

Nor could its skilful master save. 
Who shall the helpless sex sustain, 

Now Varro's lenient hand is gone, 
Which knew so well to soften pain, 

And ward all dangers but its own ? 
His darling muse, his Clio dear, 

Whom first his favour raised to fame ; 
His gentle voice vouchsafed to cheer, 

His art upheld her tender frame : 
Pale envy durst not show her teeth, 

Above contempt she gaily shone, 
Chief favourite ! till the hand of death 

Endangered both, by striking one. 
Perceiving well, devoid of fear, 

His latest fatal conflict nigh ; 
Reclined on her he held most dear, 

Whose breast received his parting sigh - 
With every art and grace adorned, 

By man admired, by heaven approved — 
Good Varro died — applauded, mourned, 

And honoured by the Muse he loved. 

84 op mk. wesley's ancestors. 

In the # last line Mrs. Wright seems to refer to some 
verses on the death of her uncle written by other 

I have met with one copy, which was published in 
June, 1737, in vol. vii. of the Gentleman's Magazine. 
And as that work is scarce, and the verses known to 
few persons, I shall insert them too, as a testimony to 
the worth of a man who appears from all accounts to 
have been learned, skilful, humane, modest, and oious. 


When vulgar funerals trail their pomp along, 
We idly stand amidst the gazing throng. 
Perhaps such trite reflections rise : " Alas ! 
" How weak the human frame ! all flesh is grass ! 
" A bubble frail ! a shade that swiftly flies ! 
" A flower that opes at morn, at evening dies ! " 
No farther we the serious thought pursue, 
Than the slight inference, "We must follow too !" 

But if the final, fatal hour remove 
To Death's black shades a relative we love, 
Or chosen friend, in pressures fully tried, 
A faithful guardian, counsellor, and guide ; 
More awful thoughts are by the stroke imprest, 
And the wise aims of Providence confest. 

" Can righteous Heaven" (thus right we argue then) 
" Regardless view such signal worth in men ? 
" Their virtue and their piety disown 1 
" And shall they be to dark oblivion thrown ? 
" O no ! most truly Scripture strains attest, 
" For such remains an everlasting rest." 
Undoubted in the sacred books appears 
A future state assigned through endless years. 
And still we find to what these lights reveal 
Our calm unbiassed reason sets her seal. 

As here the sun, with his prolific rays, 
The blooms and verdures of the globe displays ; 


So God, the sun that heavenly region gilds, 
Spreads endless riches o'er its blissful fields. 
And surely as that Sun shall ever shine, 
Those endless treasures, Wesley, all are thine ! 

Whate'er with lavish fancy poets feign 
Of bowery scenes and an Elysian plain, 
Where everlasting zephyrs waft perfume, 
Fruits ever ripen, flowers for ever bloom j 
Those fruits and flowers, which on the borders grow 
Of living streams, where waves of nectar flow 
Where happy guests on rosy beds recline, 
And press from heavenly grapes immortal wine ; 
Whate'er the surer Scripture-page displays 
Of golden wreaths, inchased with starry rays, 
Which crown the blest j the shining robes they wear, 
The shouts they utter, and the palms they bear, 
The angel-songs which swell the concert high, 
And all the immortal music of the sty ; — 
These strong, these bright ideas are too faint 
The joys ineffable of heaven to paint. 

Thus, while thy drooping friends surround thy urn, 
We meditate thy bliss, and cease to mourn ; 
Recite the virtues of thy life below, 
Till we with zealous emulation glow ; 
Resolve like thine our future life to frame; 
To make each social, useful grace our aim ; 
To propagate true knowledge, void of guile ; 
To combat craft, whose schemes the truth defile ; 
To cheer the afflicted, the depressed to raise, 
And modest worth to fortify with praise. 

'Twas thus, if small to match with great we dare, 
A mortal's virtue with a God's compare ; 
'Twas thus the Saviour of the world exprest 
The Life Divine, in human semblance drest ; 
Spotless in act, unwearied ill to chase, 
And arduous for the weal of human race. 


We shall meet with this author again, when we come 
to the account of Mrs. Wright, the Clio of her uncle 


Matthew. I cannot find that Mr. Matthew "Wesley left 
any papers behind him. He must have died when far 
advanced in life. It appears that his father was a mar- 
ried man, and had a family in 1662 ; and it is probable 
that Matthew, who was his eldest son, might have been 
born about the year 1662, or 1664 ; and as the verses on 
his death were inserted in the Gentleman's Magazine in 
the month of June, 1737) in which year he certainly 
died, he must have been, at his death, about seventy- 
eight or seventy-nine years of age. 

I have before supposed that both he and his brother 
Samuel might have had the rudiments of a classical 
education from their father, though they were both com- 
paratively young at the time of his death.* But there 
was such an aptitude to learn, and such a power of com- 
prehension in all the Wesley family, that at ten or twelve 
years of age they had acquired as much as most others 
have done when they have arrived at sixteen. We shall 
meet proofs of this as we proceed in the history of this 

It is most likely that Matthew continued with the 
nonconformists till his death, as we find no intimation 
that he left their communion. But as he seems to have 
taken no part in the political and polemical disputes 
which divided and tortured the people of that day, he 
was thought by several to be indifferent to all forms of 
religion. " Had this been so," says Miss Wesley, in a 
letter now before me, " I should hardly have supposed 
that such good parents as my grandfather and grand- 
mother would have entrusted him with their darling 

* This, as we have seen, took place about the close of the year 
1677, or the beginning of 1678. — " Letter from a Country Divine," 
p. 4. 


daughter QMartha]. He had Hetty before. Martha 
often told me she never had reason to believe it, as he 
approved her habit of going regularly to morning prayers 
at church, and was exemplarily moral in his words and 
actions, esteeming religion, but never talking of its mys- 
teries. Silence on the subject in that age, when con- 
troversy was frequent, might give rise to the suspicion 
that he was sceptically inclined, especially in a family 
jealous for its spirituality." 

Patty lived long with him, the family say from thirteen 
years of age, and was used by him with the greatest 
tenderness : but she complained that he was not deci- 
dedly religious, though he was strictly moral in his con- 
duct, and highly esteemed piety in others. See a letter 
of hers to her brother John, in the memoirs of her life. 

There is an excellent saying of his recorded by Mrs. 
S. Wesley in a letter to her son John in 1735, which 
should not be omitted : — " Never let any man know 
that you have heard what he has said against you. It 
may be he spake on some misinformation, or was in a 
passion, or did it in a weak compliance with the com- 
pany ; perhaps he has changed his mind, and is sorry for 
having done it, and may continue friendly to you. But 
if he finds that you are acquainted with what he has 
said, he will conclude you cannot forgive him, and upon 
that supposition will become your enemy." 

Mr. Surgeon Wesley had a son who was educated at 
Oxford, but shortened his life by intemperance. Of any 
other part of his family I have heard nothing. The late 
Mr. Charles Wesley used to say, " This young man was 
a profligate, and the only drunkard in the family." In 
the Bankrupt's Directory for 1708, is the name of Mat- 
thew Wesley, Apothecary, London. This was most pro- 
bably the son of old Dr. Matthew Wesley, who not only 



shortened his life, but dissipated his goods, by riotous 
living. In a " Familiar Epistle to a Friend," also pub- 
lished in the poems of Mr. Samuel "Wesley, jun., Cam- 
bridge edit., 1743, p. 159, there appears to be an allusion 
to this " battered rake," in a " tale," which he says was 
" told by my aunt of seventy-five," referring to Mat- 
thew's wife, together with her profligate son. 


We have already seen that John Wesley, vicar of 
Winterborn Whitchurch, Dorsetshire, left two sons, 
Matthew and Samuel. Of the former we have spoken 
according to the scanty documents which remain. Of 
the latter we have more copious materials, with some 
original information which has never yet been laid before 
the public. 

Mr. Samuel Wesley appears to have been born at 
Whitchurch in the year 1666. He was educated at. 
the free-school at Dorchester, by Mr. Henry Dolling, 
to whom, out of respect, he dedicated the first work he 
printed. Afterwards he became a pupil of the very 
worthy and learned Mr. Edward Veal, one of the Bar- 
tholomew confessors, who at that time was an eminent 
tutor of a dissenting academy at Stepney. From thence 
he was removed, after a period of two years, and placed 
under the care of the ingenious Mr. Charles Morton, who 
kept another of these dissenting academies at Newing- 
ton Green. In each of these places he appears to have 
profited much in classical learning ; though there were 
many things in the private academies of the dissenters 
with which he found fault, and which, from one of his 
publications on the subject we learn, were very repre- 


hensible : but they appear to have been chiefly of a 
political nature. His objections to the manner in which 
the dissenting academies were conducted he stated in a 
private letter to a friend, who, several years after (in 
1703), without Mr. Wesley's consent or knowledge, 
published it, which produced a controversy that shall be 
noticed in its proper place. 

The famous Daniel De Foe was educated at the same 
school,* and has some good remarks on their academies : 
" It is evident," says he, " the great imperfection of our 
academies is, want of conversation : this the public uni- 
versities enjoy ; ours cannot. If a man pores upon his 
book,- and despises the advantages of conversation, he 
always comes out a pedant, a mere scholar, rough and 
unfit for any thing out of the walls of the college. Con- 
versation polishes the gentleman, acquaints him with 
men and with words; gives him style, accent, delicacy 
and taste of expression ; and when he comes to appear 
in public, he preaches, as he discourses, easy, free, plain, 
unaffected, and untainted with force, stiffness, formality, 
affected hard words, and all the ridiculous part of a 
learned pedant, which is, being interpreted, a school-fop. 
Whilst on the other hand, from our schools we have 
abundance of instances of men, that come away masters 
of science, critics in Greek and Hebrew, perfect in lan- 
guages, and perfectly ignorant, if that term may be 
allowed, of their mother tongue," p. 19. 

" Many of the tutors in our academies, being careful 
to keep the knowledge of the tongues, have all their 
readings in Greek and Latin, so that at the end of their 
term of study, they come out unacquainted with English, 
though that is the tongue in which their gifts are to 
shine. The usefulness of the languages is no way run 

* Rev. Charles Morton's, Newington Green. 

90 op mb. wesley's ancestors. 

down in « this observation; but preaching the gospel, 
which is the end of our study, is done in English, and 
it seems absurd to the last degree, that all the time 
should be spent in the languages, which it is to be fetched 
from, and none in the language it is to be delivered in," 
p. 21. 

From some of these defects De Foe makes an excep- 
tion in favour of Mr. Morton's seminary : " There was 
some years ago (says he) a private academy of dissenters 
not far from London, the master of which read all his 
lectures, gave all his systems, whether of philosophy or 
divinity, in English. And though the scholars were not 
destitute in the languages, yet they were made masters 
of the English tongue, and more of them excelled in that 
particular than of any school at that time. Here were 
produced, of ministers, Mr. Timothy Crusoe, Mr. Hannot, 
Mr. Nat. Taylor, Mr. Owen, Mr. Ob. Marriott, Mr. Jno. 
Shower, and several others ; and of another kind, poets, 
Samuel "Wesley, Daniel De Foe, and two or three of 
your western martyrs, that, had they lived, would have 
been extraordinary men of their kind, viz., Kitt, Bat- 
tersby, young Jenkins, Hewling, and many more," p. 22.* 

Mr. Morton, who appears to have been every way 
qualified for his employment, drew up a compendium of 
logic for the use of his pupils ; also systems of the several 
arts and sciences, which he explained in his lectures. 
He composed some excellent rules for such of his pupils 
as were intended for orders, and entitled, " Advice to 
Candidates for the Ministry." These are preserved by 
Dr. Calamy, and may be seen in his " Continuation," 
vol. i., pp. 198 — 210. The aspersions cast upon him by 
Mr. Wesley, in representing the academies generally as 
nurseries of sedition, roused the sensibilities of De Foe, 

* De Foe's " Present State of Parties," pp. 316—320. 


and he seizes the occasion to do justice to his memory. 
He states that they were taught in the same academy, and 
" I have now by me," says he, " several MSS. of science, 
which were the exercises of his school, and among the 
rest those of politics in particular ; and I must do that 
learned gentleman's memory the justice to affirm, that 
neither in his system of politics, government, and dis- 
cipline, nor in any other exercises of that school, was 
there anything taught that was anti-monarchical or 
destructive to the constitution of England ; and par- 
ticularly among the performances of that school I find a 
declamation relating to the benefit of a single person in 
a commonwealth, wherein it is proved, from history and 
reason, that monarchy is best suited to the nature of 
government, and the defence of property," p. 24. 

Mr. Morton being teazed with continual processes in 
the Bishops' court, abandoned his country, and embarked 
for New England in 1685, where he was chosen pastor 
of a church, and vice-president of Harvard College. He 
died 1697, aged JO years. For an account of him 
abroad, see Dunton's Life and Errors, pp. 169 — 171 of 
1st edit. 

Dr. Whitehead and others inform us that Mr. S. 
Wesley " spent some time at a private academy among 
the dissenters;" but as none of the Wesleyan biogra- 
phers have noticed these circumstances particularly, I 
think it right to bring forward evidence in support of 
these facts, as well as to correct some errors which are 
afloat. In Wilson's History of Dissenting Churches, 
vol. iv., p. 196, it is said, " Mr. Wesley was educated at 
two dissenting academies ;" and this I find confirmed in 
a work entitled The Life and Errors of John Dunton, 
of whom I shall have occasion to speak hereafter. At 
page 62, Dunton says, "The first book I printed was 

92 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

Doolittl»'s * Sufferings of Christ. There was a copy of 
Greek verses prefixed to this book, which occasioned a 
poetical duel betwixt the two private academies of 
Islington and Stepney. Mr. Wesley, then pupil under 
Mr. Veal, endeavoured to ridicule the poem; with 
whom I contracted a very intimate friendship." 

In the third volume of "Wilson's History, &c, p. 79, 
Mr. Westley is said to have been also a pupil of Thomas 
Cole, M. A., who, upon being ejected by the king's com- 
missioners in 1660, retired to Nettlebed in Oxfordshire, 
where he kept a private academy, which was in consi- 
derable repute. His statement is, " Mr. Samuel Wesley 
was a pupil of Mr. Cole, but afterwards conformed to 
the established church ; and, in order to evince the truth 
of his conversion, wrote very vehemently against his 
former friends, and shamefully traduced the character of 
Mr. Cole, as an encourager of immorality in his family." 
This writer is evidently mistaken ; for it does not appear 
that Mr. Westley was ever at Mr. Cole's academy. What 
he has advanced on that subject is not mentioned as the 
result of his own observation, but copied from the life 
of Mr. James Bonnel, who says, " That in it were all 
the dangers and vices of the universities, without the 
advantages. That there was no practice of receiving 
the sacrament in that place. That his associates were 
not such from whom he might learn any part of godli- 
ness ; but, on the contrary, all debauchery. That his 
tutor, Mr. Cole, was too remiss in matters of religion 

* Rev. Thos. Doolittle, A. M., of Pembroke Hall. He kept an 
academy at Islington about the year 1672, and prepared several 
young men for the ministry, among whom was Matthew Henry, 
the commentator. He died May 24, 1707, and was buried at Bun- 
hill Fields. He was the last of the ejected ministers in London. 
See Nelson's History of Islington, p, 114, 


and morality ; and that he could not reflect with comfort 
on the time spent in that place/' — Sam. Wesley's Reply 
to Palmer, p. 130. 

Mr. Wesley's opponent cast some severe reflections on 
his personal character, to which he replied in the follow- 
ing strain of triumph : " As to this writer's reflections 
on myself, I own I ought to have lived much better, 
both before and since I left them; but this I hope I 
may have leave to say, without breach of truth or mo- 
desty, that, if I have not been an exemplary liver, I 
have never been a scandalous one ; and for this I can 
appeal to my fellow-pupils, both at Mr. Veal's and Mr. 
Morton's, for the time I remained amongst them. I 
bless God, they all know the contrary to what this writer 
affirms ; and if any of them should be so unjust as to 
charge me with anything of this nature, I am extremely 
mistaken if I do not know some of them, both ministers 
and gentlemen, who, notwithstanding this controversy, 
would be so generous and just as to be my compurgators. 
Though, if all these insinuations were true, and I had 
really been a scandalous liver while I remained at their 
academies, I cannot see how this would be for their 
credit, since I am sure I can prove the contrary while I 
was at the university. Though one thing I must not 
conceal, that I may clear my conscience : I cannot deny 
that I was too keen and revengeful while I lived among 
the dissenters, nor can I remember any one person that 
I thought had injured me, whom I ever could forgive, 
without something which I thought satisfaction ; which, 
though I believe it might be in a great measure from 
the asperity of my temper, yet I won't say but there 
might be some other reasons for it ; because, since I have 
left them, I find it so far from being difficult, that I 
cannot but think it the greatest pleasure, to forgive and 

94 or mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

oblige an enemy • to which no reasonable person will 
think it any contradiction, that I thus vindicate myself, 
when charged in the face of the world, as if I were guilty 
of scandalous falsehoods." — Defence, p. 59. 

Mr. Wilson, in his History, has said that Mr. Wesley 
was indebted to the two dissenting academies " for all 
the religion and learning which he carried with him to 
Oxford." Be it so. It does not appear that Mr. Wesley 
took with him to Oxford a large portion of either, as is 
fully manifest from the following extract: "The next 
instance is myself, who am fetched in for some rhymes 
that I wrote almost in my childhood, wherein, if there 
be anything profane or lewd, I have already told them 
where I learnt it; and what I have writ since I left 
them is known to be of another character. This book, 
Mr. Palmer says, if my tutor had seen me writing while 
I was among the dissenters, he is confident I should 
have been expelled ; and as confidently tells the world 
that I wrote it after I had conformed, and while I was a 
member of Exeter College. In answer : It is notorious 
that much the greatest part of those boyish rhymes were 
not writ after I went to the university, but while I was 
at Mr. Veal's and Mr. Morton's. Several of them were 
pronounced with applause in our rostra, in those acade- 
mies, my tutor being present, and were transcribed for 
that purpose. And I wonder what figure the vindicator 
will now fly to, to get him off from such a flagrant Pal- 
merism." — Reply, p. 129. 

In another place he says, " I was a dabbler in rhyme 
and faction before I came to Mr. Morton's, and had 
printed several things with the Party's Imprimateur. I 
can appeal to some of their ministers, to the gravest, 
eldest, and most learned among them, whether those 
very ministers did not encourage me in my silly lam- 


poons, both on church and state ; whether they have not 
sent for me on this very account, given me subjects, 
furnished me with matter, some of them transcribed my 
writings, and several of them revised and corrected 
them before they were printed. It was a dissenting 
minister of no mean fame, who not long* before I went 
to Oxford, proposed to me the writing a lampoon, re- 
flecting chiefly on one of the bishops; I think it was 
the bishop of Chichester (Williams) ; and well remem- 
ber the occasion. A person was thought to be killed by 
the mob, or not to have come fairly to his end; who 
was ordered by the bishop to be taken up again after he 
was buried, for the coroner's inquest to sit upon him. I 
knew nothing of the matter myself; but being spoken 
to about it by the fore-mentioned minister, I went by 
his direction to another minister, who lived not far from 
Clapham. The latter gave me full instructions in the 
matter, ' and a guinea or two for encouragement ; on 
which I did write the lampoon, and abused the bishop 
and the whole order to the best of my power ; for which 
I was sufficiently applauded by those who set me to 
work, and others of their party." — Reply to Palmer, 
p. 138. 

He proceeds : " I must not omit to mention that we 
had Biddle's Life and Works amongst us, some of which 
I was employed to translate, and promised a considerable 
gratuity for doing it ; but when I saw what it was, I 
proceeded no further." — Defence, p. 52. The reader 
must be informed, that this was John Biddle, a noted 
Socinian, who died in 1662, and who is called by 
Toulmin " the father of English Unitarians." 

While he remained at Mr. Veal's, he was accustomed 
to attend upon the ministry of Mr. Stephen Charnock, 

* He says, about the year 1682. 



in Crosby Square, and many other of the most popular 
dissenting ministers. Before the close of the year 1680 
he had taken down more than fifty of his sermons, and 
many hundreds of others. — Defence, p. 47- 

Among the occurrences at Mr. Morton's academy, his 
going to hear the famous John Bunyan may be noticed. 
The circumstance is mentioned incidentally in his con- 
troversy with Palmer. Speaking of ordination, he ob- 
serves, " Nothing is more common among dissenters 
than to hear persons (preach), and that daily, who have 
no form of ordination. I remember several of us went 
to hear friend Bunyan, when he preached at Newington 
Green; and Mr. Morton commended him." To this 
Palmer replies, " It is a most trifling objection, to infer 
our mean opinion of ordination, because our pupils heard 
friend Bunyan, and the tutor commended him. Some 
of us have heard friend Wesley too, and yet I hope it 
will not prove that we admire or commend him. But I 
must say, that Mr. Wesley ought not to have spoken so 
contemptibly of so holy a man, though he was neither 
of his nor my opinion, nor ordained. The Church of 
England has done him honour, by licensing a book of 
his (The Pilgrim's Progress), and commendation of it 
for the use of Wales, into whose language it was thought 
by the greatest men worth translating." Mr. W., in his 
Reply to Palmer, p. 151, returns: "He's very angry 
with me for affronting that holy man, Mr. Bunyan, by 
calling him friend, which is the worst word I gave him. 
He owns that the Presbyterians might hear him, but so 
he says they did Wesley; yes, and doubtless would 
have crowded him too, if he had given them but half 
the prayers, or preached against the 30th of January. 
But whether they did or no, if I had been to compare 
Mr. Palmer and John Bunyan, I should have done them 


the justice to have made some small difference between 
an unordained and illiterate tinker, and a man of letters, 
who had the form of presbyterian ordination." However 
the high-church principles which Mr. Wesley now held 
led him to speak thus contemptuously of this excellent 
man, yet he was greatly respected by some of the most 
exalted characters in the city of London ; as will appear 
by an extract from a letter to John Ellis, Esq., Secretary 
to the Commissioners for the Revenue of Ireland, dated 
London, Sept. 6, 1688 : — " On Tuesday last died the 
lord mayor, Sir John Shorter, and a few days before died 
Bunyan, his lordship's teacher or chaplain ; a man said 
to be gifted that way, though once a cobbler." — See 
Ellis's Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 161. 

Mr. Samuel Wesley was designed for the ministry 
among the Nonconformists ; and in their principles he 
had been carefully educated. How he came to change 
his views, and become a zealous churchman, his son, 
the late Mr. John Wesley, stated as follows : — 

" Some severe invectives being written against the 
dissenters, Mr. S. Wesley, being a young man of con- 
derable talents, was pitched upon to answer them. This 
set him on a course of reading, which soon produced an 
effect very different from what had been intended. In- 
stead of writing the wished-for answer, he himself 
conceived he saw reason to change his opinions ; and 
actually formed a resolution to renounce the dissenters, 
and attach himself to the established church." This, 
the family say, was when he was about sixteen years of 
age. S 

" He lived at that time with his mother and an old 
aunt, both of whom were too strongly attached to the 
dissenting doctrines to have borne with any patience the 

98 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

disclosufe of his design. He, therefore, got up one 
morning at a very early hour, and, .without acquainting 
any one with his purpose, set out on foot to Oxford, and 
entered himself of Exeter College." 

Mr. "Wesley has been accused by Mr. Palmer and 
others, that " when he resolved to go to the Church of 
England, he took twenty pounds of the dissenters' money, 
and then left them." — Palmer's Defence, p. 20. This 
charge is most disingenuously produced, as it seems to 
insinuate that he had purloined so much of their pro- 
perty, and then decamped ; whereas the truth is, he 
had received twenty pounds of a legacy, part of which 
he immediately paid Mr. Morton, at whose academy he 
was ; with the rest he discharged some debts which he 
owed to the dissenters, and took not one farthing of it 
to Oxford ; the money necessary for his footing it thither 
being otherwise supplied. — Answer, p. 57- 

Mr. S. Wesley was at this time about * seventeen 
years of age ; for from the registers of Exeter College it 
appears that his caution money was paid to Mr. Eichard 
Hutchins, Bursar, by Mr. "William Crabb, then Dean of 
that College, on Sept. 26, 1684, which was returned 
Dec. 22, 1686. In the letter from a country divine to 
a friend near London, he says, " In Aug. 1683 1 entered 
a servitor of Exeter College. I was initiated in deacon's 
orders by the Bishop of Eochester, at his palace of B., 
Aug. 7, 1688, and on the 26th of February following 
was ordained priest in St. Andrew's Church, Holborn." 

The whole entry, as obtained from Exeter College, 
and given by Mr. Southey, is as follows : — 

* His son Samuel says sixteen ; but the Oxford historian 
eighteen. I have therefore adopted the medium. 



Sept. 26, 1684. 

Mro. Hutchins pro Samu- 
ele Westley, paup. Schol. 
de Dorchester, £3. 

Ric. Hutchins. 

Guil. Crahb. 
Feb. 9, 1686. 

Mro. Paynter, pro Sam. 
Westley, p. schol. olim ad- 
misso. £3. 

Guil. Paynter. 
Ric. Hutchins. 


Dec. 22, 1686. [5?] 

Samueli Westley, pro 

Ric. Hutchins. 
Samuel Westley. 

Jan. 10, 1687. 

Mini ipsi pro impensis 
Coll. debitis ad fest. Nat. 
87. £3. 

Jo. Harris. 

From this entry it would appear that Dean Crabb 
laid down the first caution money for Mr. S. Wesley. 
There is a note on these entries as given by Mr. Southey, 
which I shall copy. 

"The pauper scholaris was the lowest of the four 
conditions of members not on the foundation, as the 
annexed table, copied from one prefixed to the Caution 
Book, shows : 



Bursario pro 


^ 1. Commensalium ~) 1. Sociorum 
admissorum ad ) 

mensam J 2. Propriam 



. Battallariorium £4. 

3. Pauperum Scholarium .... £3. 

" There seems reason to suspect that Dec. 22, 1686, 
in the first entry of return, should be 1685 ; for other- 
wise Samuel "Westley will appear to have two cautions 
in at once ; and from the state of his finances, this is 
peculiarly improbable." 




I do flot see any difficulty here. The entry is most 
probably correct ; for, in two years after his admission, 
so fertile a genius and so diligent a man might be well 
supposed to be capable of raising such requisite small 
sums : for in the preceding year, 1685, he had published 
his first work, entitled, Maggots, for which his bro- 
ther-in-law, J. Dunton the publisher, gave him as much 
as he could afford. He took his bachelor's degree in 
1688.* While he was at college, he visited the pri- 
soners in the castle, to relieve their necessities, as well 
as to afford them spiritual instruction. In a letter which 
we shall hereafter introduce, he says to his sons, who 
wrote to him for advice on this subject : " Go on, in 
God's name, in the path which your Saviour has directed 
you, and that track wherein your father has gone before 
you ; for when I was an undergraduate at Oxford, I 
visited them in the castle there, and reflect on it with 
great satisfaction to this day." The following question 
and answer was probably written by himself to the Athe- 
nian Society. Q. " Going through Holborn last week, 
I happened to see the prisoners going to execution, some 
of whom I perceived not at all concerned, as to outward 
appearance for their future state. I desire your opinion 
whether it would not be a commendable thing for the 

* The following notice from the University Registrar, Cam- 
bridge, of Samuel Wesley's incorporation there, will be new to 
most readers. 

" Incorporated 1 694. 
Sam. Westley, A. B., Coll. Exon. Ox : 
Samuel Westley, A. M., Coll. C. C. Camb. 1694." 
No date, it is stated, of the day and month, was ever put in those 
days. In both cases, there is one signature, spelt with the t. This 
is important, as it is not noticed by preceding biographers, that he 
proceeded Master of Arts at Cambridge. — Editor. 


clergy of London, to preach once every Lord's-day to 
the prisoners, which would not come to their turns above 
once in two years. There have been instances of some 
who have been hardened enough, and yet, by ministers 
taking pains with them, have been so convinced of their 
wickedness, as to leave no doubt of their repentance and 
salvation. Whereas neither the church ministers nor 
the dissenters now take any pains with those poor crea- 
tures, though the latter as well as the former have liberty, 
if they please, to do it." A. " What the querist wishes, 
we believe, will be readily subscribed to by all charitable 
men; though, if he would give himself the trouble to 
inquire, he would find Right Rev. Bishops of our church 
have themselves preached among them, and thereby 
given so good an example, as would be an honour to the 
clergy to imitate." — Oracle, Vol. II., p. 495. 

Though Mr. Wesley's opinions might have been much 
shaken, yet he was not wholly detached from the dis- 
senters either in affection or religious fellowship till after 
his return from the university. I shall give the relation 
in his own words, which must be considered as the only 
true account. 

" When I came from the university, my acquaintance 
lay chiefly among the dissenters ; having scarce any in- 
timacy before I went thither from London with any of 
the Church of England, unless with two reverend and 
worthy persons, my relations, who lived at a great dis- 
tance j one of whom, coming to London, was so kind as to 
see me while I was at Mr. Morton's ; and gave me such 
arguments against that schism which I was then em- 
barked with, as added weight to my resolutions when I 
began to think of leaving it. But after my return to 
London I contracted an acquaintance with a gentleman 
of the Church of England, who, knowing my former 

102 op mb. wesley's ancestors. 

way of Hfe, did often importune me to give him an ac- 
count in writing of the dissenters' methods of education 
in their private academies; concerning which he had 
heard several passages from me in conversation, though 
for some time I did not satisfy him therein ; and it was 
the following remarkable occurrence which altered my 
inclinations as to that affair. I happened to be with 
some of my former acquaintance at a house in Leaden- 
hall-street, or thereabouts, in the year 1693. All of 
them, I remember, were then dissenters, except one, and 
lie has since left the Church of England. Their dis- 
course was so fulsomely lewd and profane, that I could 
not endure it ; but went to the other side of the room 
with a doctor of physic, who had been my fellow-pupil 
at Mr. Morton's, and to whom I owe the justice to de- 
clare that he likewise disliked the conversation. 

" A little after, we went to supper ; but then the scene 
was changed, and they all fell a railing at monarchy, 
and blaspheming the memory of king Charles the martyr, 
discoursing of their calves-head club, and producing or 
repeating some verses on that subject. I remember one 
of the company told us of a design that they had, at 
their next calves-head feast, to have a cold pie served 
on the table, with either a live cat or hare, I have forgot 
whether, inclosed ; and they contrived to put one of then- 
company who loved monarchy, and knew nothing of the 
matter, to cut it up ; whereupon, and on the leaping out 
of the cat or hare, they were all to set up a shout, and 
cry, ' Halloo, old puss !' to the honour of the good old 
cause, and to show their affection to a commonwealth. 
Since I wrote this, I got a sight of the calves-head 
anthems; and in that for the year 1694 I find these 
verses : — 


" Then to puss, boys ; to puss, boys ! 
Let us drink it off thus, boys !" 

on which, if I mistake not, this story will be a good 

" By this, as well as by several other discourses which 
I had heard among them, I found that their principles 
were not at all altered ; and these conversations so turned 
my stomach against them, and gave me such a just indig- 
nation against such villanous principles and practices, that 
I returned to my lodgings, and resolved to draw up what 
the gentleman desired," &c. — Defence of Letter, fyc, p. 4. 

This is his own account of his utterly separating him- 
self from the communion of the dissenters ; though his 
mind appears to have had a predisposing bias to that 
separation for some time. 

But, though neither a dissenter, nor their apologist, I 
must observe, that the conclusions which Mr. S. Wesley 
drew were not entirely supported by the premises. Per- 
haps a more barbarous, abominable, and sickening insti- 
tution than the calves-head club never disgraced the 
convivial assemblies of a Christian country ; and those 
who were capable of sitting down to such a repast, with 
its concomitant representations and recollections, could 
not, I imagine, hesitate, if among our antipodes in New 
Zealand, to sit down to have their share of a roasted 
human victim. But still the calves-head club was not 
the body of the dissenters ; nor was it ever approved by 
that body : therefore its proceedings are not fairly charge- 
able upon the dissenters ; some classes of whom were 
cordially averse from the death of the king, though they 
had a deep conviction that his aim was to establish an 
arbitrary power in the state and popery in the church : 
and let me add, that they were among the foremost to 
restore the monarchy. 

104 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

Mr. Sr Wesley's ancestors were all dissenters. They 
had many conscientious scruples against joining in 
the communion of the church, and admitting its hier- 
archy ; yet it does not appear, as has been previously 
noticed, that there was one disloyal man among them. 
In the heat of his zeal for the church, after his con- 
version from dissenting principles, Mr. S. "Wesley, in his 
controversial writings, often overstepped the bounds of 
Christian moderation. But in those unhappy times all 
parties ran into extremes. 

Not long after finally quitting his connexion with 
the dissenters, he wrote the following poem on the Death 
of the Prince of Wales, inserted in Nichols's Select 
Collection of Poets, vol. 7> p- 98. 


When Ariosto, in the fields of light, 

Looked down and saw our under-worlds so bright, 

Soon did he in our joys and triumphs share, 

Soon knew of Este's and England's wondrous heir j 

Resolved his vocal picture Fame should give, 

And with his great forefathers make him doubly live. 

And now he strikes some soft, some mighty string, 

Soft as his own Italian virgins sing : 

Divinely mixed the great and good appear, 

And all alike is scattered every where. 

What should it mean 1 but need it twice be seen, 

Each stroke, each line confesses — 'Tis the Queen. 

Her face, as if she brought great James a boy, 

Discovering in their turn great pain and joy. 

Thus Semele with pangs and thunders strove, 

And thought her life too cheap to give an heir to Jove. 

* From the Strena? Natalitiae Academic Oxoniensis in clesissi- 
mum Principeu. Oxonii, 1688. K. 


What has he done? such dazzling lustre shined 

Around her eyes, there's not one grace behind, 

And still the royal father's not designed. 

Yet he recovers all, his pencil spread 

A modest veil around his radiant head ; 

He shades what was too bright to be expressed, 

And in his little image speaks the rest. 

'Tis done : each look, each glance, must needs surprise ; 
His father's soul shines through his mother's eyes. 
The planets in his composition strove, 
And formed him all of bravery and love. 
Thus looked great James, when he, in Dunkirk field, 
Before hard fate retired, but could not yield ; 
Or when his thunders, at Batanea hurled, 
Pale Neptune scared, and all his watery world. 
He's finished all ; now the great work is past, 
Which fate has said, shall time and age outlast ; 
Each piece of his creation he reviewed, 
And knew their worth, and dared pronounce them good. 

" Hail ! child of miracles !" all rapt he cried ; 
" Hail ! son of prayers, we thought too long denied ' 
I feel, I feel the rising God within : 
There, there I see the glorious mystic scene : 
In decent ranks each coming bliss appears, 
And in their hands lead up the harnessed years. 
Here he defends his father's mighty throne, 
And there he conquers others of his own : 
Here rides in triumph o'er the watery plain, 
And vindicates his title to the main ; 
And there so thick the vanquished colours lie, 
As if each soldier beat a company : 
Here, where his arms have given Europe peace, 
And rugged wars tumultuous glories cease ; 
I see his valiant brothers, yet to come, 
Share in his triumphs, and attend him home. 
I see thy loyal waters, Isis, moved 
(For never English prince but Isis loved) 
When he comes there : these venerable men, 
Who met great James, how do they crowd again ! 

106 of mr. wbsley's ancestors. 

Agaia each clustered street and house prepare, 

With flowers and hearts, t' attend great James's heir. 

The lively youths their valour fain would try, 

And almost wish for some new enemy, 

Greater than him,* who but too quickly fell, 

Whom they prepared to entertain so well. 

Soft music plays ; and yet a brighter scene, 

And a new face of things, and a new world begin. 

Rivers of honey and of nectar glide 

Along the laughing fields, and by their side 

Fair troops of happy, thoughtless lovers stray, 

And look and smile their flowing hours away. 

Kind peace and heavenly friendship here shall reign, 

And bring the blissful, golden age again. 

No cloudy forehead, no contracted brow, 

No fear of all those wounds are bleeding now. 

Almost I'd leave Elysium here to stay ; — 

But fate too soon recalls — I must away, — " 

He said ; when o'er the hills he saw the rising day : 

Then in those flames, which joy like his expressed, 

He mounts, and fills his seat among the blest. 

Sam. Wesley, A. B., of Exeter Coll. 

In reference to the poems and other public expressions 
of feeling on the occasion of the birth alluded to in the 
above, a writer remarks : — 

" We expect verses gratulatory upon the birth of the 
prince from both the Universities, and also from the 
Society of Magdalen College, in a particular book by 
themselves."— Ellis's Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 4, June 
28, 1688. 

" July 17, 1688. — A grand display of fire-works took 
place on the Thames, for an account of which see Ellis's 
Correspond., vol. ii., p. 52." — Evelyn Diary, this date. 

When 8. Wesley entered himself at Oxford, he had 
only two pounds five shillings, and no prospect of future 
supplies, except from his own exertions. However, he 
* Duke of Monmouth. 


supported himself by publishing, and probably by assist- 
ing the younger students, till he took his bachelor's 
degree, without any preferment or assistance from his 
friends, but only five shillings. See his letter to his 
brother Matthew. 

He now came to London, having increased his little 
stock to ten pounds fifteen shillings. He was ordained 
deacon in 1688, and obtained a curacy of twenty-eight 
pounds per annum, which he held one year; and was 
then appointed a chaplain aboard the fleet, where he had 
seventy pounds per annum. This appointment he held 
for only one year, during which time he began his poem 
on the Life of Christ,* which will be noticed in its 
proper place. He then came to London, and obtained 
another curacy of thirty pounds per annum (see the 
above letter to his brother Matthew), which he held 
two years, and which income, by his industry and 
writings, he raised to sixty pounds per annum. 

He then married, had a son (Samuel), and he, his 
wife, and child, lived in lodgings ; till, a year after, in 
1691, he had the living of South Ormsby, in the county 
of Lincoln, given to him, worth about fifty pounds per 
annum. This, he affirms, was given to him without 
soliciting any person for it, without any expectation of 
it, or even so much as once thinking of it. — Defence, 
p. 3. 

This, I believe, was the place of which Mr. John 
Wesley gave the following account : — 

" My father's first preferment in the church was a 
small parish (South Ormsby) obtained for him by the 
Marquis of Normanby. This nobleman had a house in 
the parish, where a woman who lived with him usually 
resided. This lady would be intimate with my mother. 

* Life of Christ, p. 30, in a note. Ed. 1 693. 

108 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

whether the would or not. To such an intercourse my 
father would not submit. Coming in one day, and 
finding this intrusive visitant sitting with my mother, 
he went up to her, took her by the hand, and very fairly 
handed her out. The nobleman resented the affront so 
outrageously as to make it necessary for my father to 
resign the living." He left South Ormsby in 1696, or 
early in 1697, for in this year Thomas Raven succeeded 
him in the Rectory. Indeed there is no evidence of 
Mr. S. "Wesley's handwriting after 1696, in the register 
of this church. While he possessed the living of South 
Ormsby he had five children. 

I have already hinted that while at College Mr. Wesley 
supported himself partly by publishing ; and this is 
corroborated by Dunton, who says, " There is the rector 
of Epworth, who got his bread by the 'Maggots' I 
published." As this circumstance is but little known, I 
shall be more particular in my statement of it. 

Mr. Wesley's intimacy in the family of Dr. Annesley 
was most likely brought about by his acquaintance with 
the famous eccentric bookseller, John Dunton, well 
known in the typographical history of England. 

A correspondent in the Gentleman's Magazine* thus 
speaks of him : " The principal part of Dunton's writings 
were intimately connected with the literary history of 
England and Ireland (particularly the former) ; no man 
in his day. was, in some respects, more conversant on 
the subject, as will appear from his " Life and Errors," 
now republished; for in it will be found some parti- 
culars of almost every man who had even the humblest 
share in letters, from the author who wrote a book to 
him who read it, printed it, licensed its publication, 
bound it, and adorned it with engravings. All this kind 

* Vol. 88, part i. p. 292. 


of information our author, first as a bookseller, and next 
as a book-maker, of long standing in London, had the 
best means and opportunities of acquiring. Amongst 
other particulars of his life, Dunton gives an account of 
a voyage he made to Boston in New England, wherein 
he pays particular attention to the state of religion in the 
new colony, and especially to the means then employed 
for converting the native Indians to the Christian re- 
ligion ; a glorious undertaking, which, unfortunately for 
the cause of Christianity, was too soon laid aside. On 
his return from America, Dunton visited Holland, and 
some parts of Germany. Not long afterwards he visited 
Ireland, of which he gives a lively and entertaining 
account of such parts of the country as fell under his 
observation. This account was first printed in his 
Conversations in Ireland. He landed in April, 1698, 
in Dublin ; of which city, what is said is curious, as it 
serves to let us into the history of many of the inhabit- 
ants of that day." To give a list of this printer's 
works may scarcely be deemed admissible here ; but 
there is one so exceedingly singular and curious that I 
cannot pass it by without notice, though one of the 
seven books he repented having printed. "Heavenly 
Pastime, or Pleasant Observations on all the most 
remarkable Passages throughout the Holy Bible of 
the Old and New Testament, newly allegorized in 
several delightful Dialogues, Poems, Similitudes, and 
Divine Fancies. By John Dunton, author of the Sick 
Man's Passing-Bell. The second edition. London, 
printed for John Dunton, at the Black Raven, at the 
corner of Princes Street, near the Royal Exchange, 1685, 
18mo." At the conclusion of this work he gives "a 
catalogue of fifteen extraordinary pleasant and useful 
books," of which he gives a copious analysis. The 

110 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

subjects o5f the " Heavenly Pastime " may be referred to 
in a note.* 

On the 3rd August, 1682, this gentleman espoused 
Elizabeth, one of the daughters of Dr. Samuel Annesley, 
on which occasion young Wesley, then a pupil of Mr. 

* A very delightful New-Year's Gift, intituled, Heavenly Pastime ; 
to which is added, (1) The miraculous manner of the production 
of our old grandmother Eve, with the supposed manner of Adam's 
first nuptial addresses to her, with the pleasant circumstance of 
their marriage. (2) You have an account of Eve's first addresses 
to Adam, and her industry in making a garment for her husband. 
(3) You have a pleasant account of Adam and Eve's winter suits, 
their lodging, and first building, with an account in what pretty 
manner they first invented a fire to warm them. (4) You have 
abundance of supposed dialogues, very full of delightful reading. 
The first is between Adam and Eve, and Eve and the serpent. 
The second dialogue is between Cain and Abel, Monster Sin, and 
Conscience. The third, between Abraham and Sarah, upon her 
laughing at the thought of her bearing children in her old age. 
The fourth, between Abraham and his dear and only son Isaac, 
before his father went to offer him up as a sacrifice. The fifth, 
between Isaac and Rebecka at their first meeting. The sixth, 
between Jacob and Rachel, upon his being willing to serve four- 
teen years to obtain her love. (5) A wonderful account how 
Pharaoh and all his host were drowned in the Red Sea. (6) A dia- 
logue between Grim Death and the Flying Minutes. (7) Between 
Balaam and his Ass. (8) The Triumphs of Chastity, or a dialogue 
between Joseph and his Mistress upon her tempting of him to 
uncleanness. (9) A dialogue between the wanton harlot and 
the debauched youth. (10) A dialogue between Samson and 
his beloved Delilah. (11) Between Ruth and Naomi, upon these 
words, " Nothing but death shall part thee and me." (12) Be- 
tween David and Goliah, npon their first encounter. (13) Between 
Jonathan and David, including all the sweets of an entire friendship. 
(14) Between David, Uriah, and Bathsheba. (15) A choice dia- 
logue fancied between King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, about 
the wonderful works of God throughout the whole creation ; to 


"Veal's, presented them with an Epithalamium of ten 
verses, which Dunton has inserted in his Life and Errors, 
p. 78, 2nd edit. ; also Athenian Oracle, vol. i., p. 73. 
Another of whom, Susannah, the youngest, Mr. "Wesley 
afterwards married. — See ahove. Mr. Dunton has been 

which is added the glory and splendour of King Solomon's 
court, together with the Queen of Sheba's glorious progress to 
it. (16) A dialogue between Jehu arid wanton Jezabel. (17) 
Haman on the gallows, or a dialogue between Hainan and Mor- 
decai. (18) Between Adonibezek and one of the sixty kings he 
tormented under Ins table, supposed to be in the other world. 
(19.) A dialogue between Job and his wife. (20) Between Isaiah 
and Hezekiah relating to the fifteen years that was added to his 
life. (21) A dialogue between Nebuchadnezzar and the three 
children, called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that were 
cast into the fiery furnace. (22) Between Darius and Daniel 
when he was cast into a den, to be devoured by roaring lions. 
(93) Between Jonah and the mariners in the storm, before he was 
swallowed up alive by a whale. (24) Between Zacharias and 
Elizabeth. (25) A fancied dialogue between rich Dives and poor 
ragged Laearus. (26) A very affectionate dialogue between the 
returning prodigal and his loving father, together with choice 
meditations upon our Saviour's great compassion to the converted 
thief upon the cross. (27) A dialogue between Judas and the 
high-priest, about betraying of Christ, together with Judas's doleful 
despair. (28) Between Nicodemus and the deceitful world, 
wherein the world promises glorious matters. (29) A dialogue 
between Pilate and his wife after he had condemned our blessed 
Saviour. (30) A choice dialogue between Jairus and his daughter, 
after her being raised from the dead, representing what ravishing 
sights probably her soul might behold during all the time her body 
lay dead in the grave. (31) A memento to hypocrites, or a 
dialogue between Ananias and Sapphira. (32) A strange dialogue 
between the Devil and Simon Magus. (33) Between tie dis- 
possest Damosel and her master, when Paul and Silas were by a 
miracle released out of prison. (34) Useful meditations upon 
Eutichus falling down dead, sleeping at a sermon. (35) An 



called Mr. Samuel Wesley's near relative. But there 
was no other relationship hetween them but what is 
consequent on marrying two sisters. 

Mr. Dunton being an adventurous publisher, Mr. 
Wesley employed him to print and publish his first work, 
the title of which is as follows : " Maggots, or Poems 
on several Subjects never before handled. By a Scholar. 
18mo. London, 1685. John Dunton." 

Mr. Wesley was only nineteen years of age* when he 
produced this work, entitled Maggots, thereby conveying 
the sense of what the book really contained, whimsical 
ideas, and in this acceptation it is used by Norris : " To 
pretend to work out a new scheme of thoughts with a 
maggotty, unsettled head, is as ridiculous as to think to 
write straight in a jumbling coach." — See Johnson's 
Dictionary. Dunton, in the Introduction to his Life 
and Errors, says, "Perhaps some will call it one of 

awakening dialogue between the mariners after St. Paul's ship- 
wreck, with above fifty extraordinary pleasant dialogues and poems 
besides. By John Dunton, author of the Sick Man's Passing-bell. 
Price 2s. 6d., bound. Here is a proper specimen of a puffing* 
bookseller. The style of the book is singular ; it is a sort of half 
blank verse, or what is called prose run mad. 

The 2nd article is The Complete Tradesman. The 3rd edition, 
with large additions; wherein is now fully taught the Pleasanr 
and Delightful Art of Money-catching. Price Is. bound. 

3. An Ingenious Discourse against Naked Breasts and Shoulders, 
Patches, Painted Faces, and Long Perriwigs. By Mr. Jay, Rector 
of Chinner, in Oxfordshire. Price Is. bound. 

• See Nichol's ed. of Dunton's Life and Errors, p. xi. of the 

* And such Mr. Wesley considered him, ft r in one of his letters concerning 
the disturbances at the Parsonage, at Epworth, p. 181, he says, "The whole 
account would make a glorious penny book tor Jack Dunton ; but while I liva 
I am not ambitious for any thing of that nature." 


Dunton's Maggots," for having printed thirty of "Wesley's 
writings, it would be strange if I should not by imitation 
become one myself. But it is far from being maggotty, 
for if a man must be called a maggot for starting thoughts 
that are wholly new, then farewell invention." I have 
been thus particular, because Palmer has been exceed- 
ingly severe on a book which was published anonymously; 
and when Wesley is challenged as the author, we find 
he neither attempts to deny nor defend it, but apolo- 
gizes for these poems as "boyish Rimes he wrote 
almost in his childhood," and to which reference has 
been already made. Dr. Southey, in his Specimens of 
the Early English Poets, speaks thus of the author, and 
of the Maggots : " His imagination seems to have been 
playful and diffuse; had he written during his son's 
celebrity, some of his pieces might perhaps have been 
condemned by the godly as profane." I confess I can 
find nothing in this, or any other of his publications, 
that strictly merits such a reflection, though it must be 
acknowledged there are several in which a want of deli- 
cacy is too apparent, and so indeed in many other writers 
of that day. But, to proceed with Dr. Southey's account 
of it : " In a lively and witty epistle to the reader, the 
author remarks, ' In the next place, since it comes 
uppermost, I am to tell ye, bonafidm, that is, in English, 
in verbo sacerdotis, that all are here my own pure 
Maggots, the natural issue of my own brain-pan, bred 
and born there.' " Dr. S. then gives, as specimens, " A 
Pindaric on the Grunting of a Hog," and "The King 
turned Thrasher." It is not necessary to enter largely 
into the subject of these juvenile productions ; but if 
the reader is desirous of going in search of these Maggots, 
he may find them, not only in Dr. Southey's work, but 
in "the Gentleman's Magazine;" and, with several more, 



in the*" Athenian Sports," published by Dunton. They 
are thus defended in the first paper of that work : "The 
way to elegance of style," says the writer, " is to employ 
the pen upon every subject, and the more trivial and 
barren, the more talent is required. This old Homer 
knew well, when he wrote a poem concerning a fight 
between Frogs and Mice, and some of our modern 
authors have sported themselves upon trifling subjects, 
such as 'Upon the Leg of a Fly,' 'A Straw,' 'A 
Point,' nay upon ' Nothing ; ' striving to show the 
greatness of their wit in the smcdlness of the subject. 
It was this that made a reverend brother spin 200 verses 
out of a Cow's Tail — that made Wesley write in praise 
of a Maggot — De Foe sing a Hymn to the Pillory — and 
Swift tell a Tale of a Tub. The ingenuity of a husband- 
man is not tried by a soil that is fruitful to his hand, 
but by so manuring a barren soil as to make it fat and 
fruitful. Let me have noble thoughts from barren subjects, 
rather than useless ones from great ; a small tree bearing 
a great deal of fruit, rather than a great tree with little 
but leaves. Give me an Iliad in a nutshell, for I hate 
' a great cry and little wool.' " 

To this work there was prefixed a portrait, to the 
knees, of a youth (the author), crowned with laurel, 
writing at a table ; on his forehead a maggot, and under- 
neath these verses : — 

In his own defence the author writes, 
Because when this foul maggot bites 

He ne'er can rest in quiet : 
Which makes him make so sad a face, 
He'd beg your worship or your grace, 

Unsight, unseen, to buy it. 

" It is to be regretted," says Mr. Grainger, who de - 


scribes this portrait* (vol. ir., p. 329), "that Mr. Samuel 
Wesley's vein of poetry was not exhausted when he 
published his Maggots; as he incurred the censure of 
Garth, in his ' Dispensary,' who severely lashes him in 
these lines : 

' Had Wesley never aimed in verse to please, 

He had not ranked with our Ogilbys. 

Still censures will on dull pretenders fall ; 

A Codrus should expect a Juvenal !' " 

This is as splenetic as it is unjust ; and Mr. Wesley, 
in two lines, most amply turned the scorpion's sting upon 
its own head : — 

" What wonder he should Wesley Codrus call, 
Who dares surname himself a Juvenal !" 

The learned reader will at once recollect that Garth 
alludes to Juv., Sat. iii., ver. 203: — 

Lectus erat Codro, — &c. 

Nihil habuit Codrus : quis enim negat 1 et tamen illud 
Perdidit infelix totum nil : ultimus autem 
^Erumnas cumulus, quod nudum, et frustra rogantem, 
Nemo cibo, nemo hospitio, tectoque juvebat. 
Codrus had but one bed, — &c. 
"Tis true, poor Codrus nothing had to boast, 
And yet poor Codrus all that nothing lost ; 
Begged naked through the streets of wealthy Rome, 
And found not one to feed or take him home. 


I see no lashing here : the fact of the poverty of Co- 
drus, and the public neglect of him, is stated by Juvenal. 
If misfortune and public neglect of the merits of a poet 
be fit subjects for satire, not only Codrus, but Milton, — 

* A copy of this very scarce and curious portrait was published 
about ten years ago, by T. Rodd, No. 2, Great Newport Street, 
Long Acre, price 2s. 6d. 

116 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

who gtft but five pounds for his Paradise Lost, the best 
poem ever written,* — and Edmund Spencer, who is said to 
have died in a garret, and whose works are as far beyond 
every thing that Garth wrote as the Peak of Tene- 
rifFe is beyond a mole-hill, — may all come in for a very 
large share. Besides, Juvenal appears more to lament 
the misfortune of Codrus than to find fault with him. 

The judgment of De Foe, author of a poem, entitled, 
" The Reformation of Manners," was more candid to the 
man, while he justly lashed the profligacy of the times. 
[1 Ed. 1702, p. 57.] 

" Let him whose fate it is to write for bread, 
Keep this one maxim always in his head : 
If in this age he would expect to please, 
He must not cure, but nourish, the disease : 
Dull moral things will never pass for wit ; 
Some^ years ago they might, but now 'ts too late. 
In vain the sober thing inspired with wit, 
Writes hymns and historiest from Sacred Writ ; 
But let him blasphemy and bawdy write, 
The pious and the modest both will buy't. 

* Mr. John Milton sold his copy of Paradise Lost, April 27 ; 
1667, to Mr. Samuel Simmons, for an immediate payment of five 
pounds, with a stipulation to receive five pounds more when 1300 
should be sold of the first edition ; and again five pounds after the 
sale of the same number of the second edition, and another five 
pounds after the same sale of the third. None of the three editions 
was to extend beyond 1300 copies. The third edition was pub- 
lished in 1678 ; and Milton's widow, to whom the copyright then 
devolved, sold all her claims to Mr. Simmons for eight pounds ! 
and Simmons transferred his whole right to Brabazon Aylmer for 
£25. Only 3000 copies of this incomparable work were sold in 
eleven years ! 

t The History of the New Testament in Verse, with cuts, by 
Samuel Wesley, 1701, of which we shall speak hereafter. 


Wesley, with pen and poverty beset, 
And Blaekmore, versed in physic as in wit, 
Though this of Jesus, that of Job may sing, 
One bawdy play will twice their profits bring." 

Mr. Wesley's poetic talents, of whatever order, were 
always employed in the cause of truth and moral purity. 
Garth, whose muse had a strong pinion, prostituted his 
talents in publishing versions of the most abominable 
parts of the vilest productions of Ovid. But he is gone 
to another tribunal. 

The worst that his brother-in-law, Dunton, could say 
of Mr. Wesley, when he quarrelled with him, was this : — 

" He loves too much the Heliconian strand, 
Whose stream's unfurnished with the golden sand." 

By this first publication, Maggots, he is not supposed 
to have gained much.* Mr. Wesley wrote many poeti- 
cal pieces for Dunton while he was at college, for which 
he was liberally rewarded. This he in effect acknow- 
ledges in a letter to Mr. Dunton, apologizing for a long 

Epworth, July 24, 1697. 
" Dear Brother, 

" It has been neither unkindness to you, with whom 
I have traded and been justly used for many years, 
which has made me so long neglect answering your 
several letters; but the hurry of a removal, and my 
extraordinary business, being obliged to preach the 
visitation sermon at Gainsborough, at the bishop's 

* The publishing price was probably not more than 6d. or Is. ; 
but now the book is so exceedingly scarce, that a guinea or twenty- 
five shillings is readily obtained for it. Thomas Marriott, Esq., bid 
a pound for it at the sale of Mr. Nassau's books, by Evans, in Pall 
Mall, but was outbid by a bookseller, who went to a higher price. — 

118 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

coming thither, which is but just over. Besides, I 
would fain have sent you an elegy as well as an epitaph, 
but cannot get one to my mind ; and therefore you must 
be content with half your desire. And if you please to 
accept this epitaph, it is at your service ; and I hope it 
will come before you will need another epithalamium. 
I am, 
Your obliged friend and brother, 
S. Wesley." 
— Life and Errors, p. 164. 

The import of this letter was wholly misunderstood 
by the author of " Literary Anecdotes," when he ob- 
served that elegies, epitaphs, and epithalamiums were 
articles in which Dunton traded. The object of the 
letter was no matter of trade, but arose from the follow- 
ing circumstances: Mrs. Dunton, after an illness of 
"forty weeks," died on the 28th of May, 1697, and 
was buried with great pomp in Bunhill-fields burial- 
ground. Mr. Dunton observes, that he put above twenty 
of his relatives in mourning on the occasion. The elegant 
tomb he erected is still standing. During his affliction 
for her loss, he wrote several letters to Mr. "Wesley, her 
brother-in-law, requesting him to write an " elegy " to 
her memory, and an " epitaph " for her tomb. Owing to 
'' extraordinary circumstances," Mr. Wesley's reply was 
delayed till the 24th of July, for which he apologizes, 
but incloses the " epitaph" saying, " you must be con- 
tent with half your desire."* But Dunton, by this time, 
was actually paying his addresses to Sarah, the daughter 
of Madame Jane Nicholas, of St. Albans, to Whom he 
was married before the close of the year. Mr. W., having 

* The elegy and the epitaph are both inserted in Dunton's Life 
and Errors, 2 ed., p. 284-5. 


probably heard of his attentions to this lady, sarcastically 
adds, "I hope it will come before you need another 
" epithalamium ;" alluding to one he gave him on his 
Jim marriage, and to which we have already adverted. 

In the beginning of the year 1690, John Dunton pro- 
jected a paper, which was at first entitled, " The Athe- 
nian Gazette, or Casuistical Mercury, resolving all the 
nice and curious questions proposed by the ingenious;" but ■ 
which, in a little time, " to oblige authority" he altered to 
the " Athenian Mercury." And the project was founded, 
as himself tells us, on Acts xvii. 21 : " For all the Athe- 
nians, and strangers which were there, spent their time 
in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some 
new thing." The object of the work was to receive and 
answer all questions in all faculties and departments of 
literature. Mr. Dunton's account of this undertaking, 
and the persons employed in it, who were denominated 
" The Athenian Society," will not be unacceptable to the 
reader, as connected with the subject of these pages. 

"When I had thus formed the design," says he, "I 
found that some assistance was absolutely necessary to 
carry it on ; in regard the project took in the whole 
compass of learning, and the nature of it required dis- 
patch. I had then some acquaintance with the ingenious 
Mr. Richard Sault, who turned Malebranche into Eng- 
lish for me, and was admirably well skilled in the 
mathematics. To him I unbosomed myself, and he very 
freely offered to become concerned. So soon as the design 
was well advertized, Mr. Sault and myself, without any 
more assistance, settled to it with great diligence ; and 
Nos. 1 and 2 were entirely of Mr. Sault 's composure and 
mine. The project being surprising and unthought of, 
we were immediately overloaded with letters. The 
Athenian Gazette made now such a noise in the world, 

120 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

and -(fas so universally received, that we were obliged to 
look out after more members. The ingenious Dr. Norris 
very generously offered his assistance gratis ; but refused 
to become a stated member of Athens. He was won- 
drously useful in supplying hints. 

" The undertaking growing every week upon our 
hands, the impatience of our querists, and the curiosity 
of their questions, which required a great deal of accu- 
racy and care, did oblige us to adopt a third member of 
Athens : and the Rev. Samuel "Wesley being just come 
to town, all new. from the university, and my acquaint- 
ance with him being very intimate, I easily prevailed 
with him to embark himself upon the same bottom, and 
in the same cause. With this new addition, we found 
ourselves to be masters of the whole design ; and there- 
upon we neither lessened nor increased our number." 

Of the society itself, the " learned " Mr. Charles Gil- 
don published a history, without his name, which was 
prefixed to the first volume of the Athenian Gazette, 
and is described by themselves to be the production of a 
" gentleman who got secret intelligence of their whole 
proceedings." It is thus advertised : " History of the 
Athenian Society; giving an account of the novelty, 
advantage, first inventor, and occasion of this useful 
undertaking; the difficulties that attend it; the noble 
daring of the first author, with a particular account of 
the rest ; the reasons why this society assumed the title 
of Athenian; the progress, methods, and performances 
of the society when established ; a prospect of what the 
world is suddenly to expect from it, and likewise what 
it has reason to hope for hereafter ; with a too favourable 
account of both the principles of its opposers, and the 
injustice of their endeavours : — to all which is prefixed 
an ode, made by Mr. Swift ; as also several poems 


written by Mr. Tate, Mr. Mollens, Mr. Richardson, and 
others. These heads are all largely treated on in the 
forementioned history, which is prefixed to the first 
volume of the Athenian Gazette." 

In the Athenian Gazette, no names were given to the 
public. It was published every Tuesday and Saturday ; 
consisted of a single folio ; and the first number made 
its appearance on Tuesday, March 17, 1690, and closed 
Feb. 8, 1695-6. Each number was one penny. Thirty 
numbers, that is, sixty pages, made what was called a 
volume ; and, stitched in marble paper, was sold for two 
shillings and sixpence ; and the work was continued to 
the twentieth volume,* " when," says Mr. Dunton, " we 
took up, to give ourselves a little ease and refreshment ; 
for the labours and travels of the mind are as expensive, 
and wear the spirits off as fast, as those of the body." I 
possess the first twelve volumes of this work, but have 
not seen the others. 

The society was never composed of more than three 
members : Mr. John Dunton the projector, Mr. Richard 
Sault, and the Rev. Samuel "Wesley. Their original 
articles of agreement, dated April 10, 1691, are still pre- 
served in the Bodleian Library, executed by these three 
persons, viz. : 

Samuel Wesley, Clerk. 

Richard Sault, Gent. 

John Dunton, Bookseller. 

* With this day's number (No. 30, Feh. 8, 1695-6), which con- 
cluded the nineteenth volume, John Dunton thought it right to 
discontinue his weekly publication, " as the coffee-houses had the 
Votes every day, and nine newspapers every week," and proposed 
to publish his Mercuries in Quarterly Volumes, " designing again to 
continue it as a weekly paper, as soon as the glut of news is a 
■little over." 

122 op mk. wesley's ancestors. 

Among the contributors to this undertaking were some 
of the first men of the nation, viz.. Dr. Norris, Daniel 
De Foe, Mr. Richardson, Nahum Tate, poet-laureate, 
Dean Swift, the Marquis of Halifax, Sir William Tem- 
ple, Sir Thomas Pope, Blount, Sir "William Hedges, Sir 
Peter Pett, Mr. Motteaux, &c. Occasionally, they pub- 
lished Supplements to the volumes, relating to foreign 
literature, of which they were a sort of general review. 

Before this time the public journals were either re- 
stricted to the temporary politics of the day, or to angry 
discussions of an ecclesiastical nature ; and it is but 
justice to say, that Dunton and his coadjutors have the 
merit of first giving them a literary turn. 

Though there were never more than three members 
in this society, yet in the advertisement to the thirteenth 
number, it is stated, "We have now taken into our 
society a Civilian, a Doctor of Physic, and a Chirur- 
geon," one of whom is conjectured to be Matthew 
Wesley; and they therefore proposed answering all 
questions in those sciences. The latter, however, who- 
ever they were, could be only assistants ; for Messrs. 
Dunton, Sault, and Wesley were the proprietors, and no 
doubt divided the profits, which must have been con- 
siderable for the time. The name of Wesley, however, 
was never disclosed till Dunton published his Memoirs ; 
and this profound secresy contributed much both to their 
credit and emolument. 

In mentioning the name of Mr. Richard Sault, I am 
necessarily led to notice a work which then made a great 
deal of noise in the world, and since that time both noise 
and mischief. I mean a pamplet entitled, " The Second 
Spira, or a Narrative of the Death of the Hon. Fr. 
N t, son to the late ," published by John Dun- 
ton ; and of which, he tells us himself, he sold thirty 


thousand copies in the short space of six weeks. It was 
republished by the late Mr. J. "Wesley, in the Arminian 
Magazine for 1783, p. 24, &c. 

The full title of this book, as printed in an advertise- 
ment at the end of No. 7> Tues. Jan. 10, 1692, of the 
Athenian Mercury, is the following : — . 

"The Second Spira, being a fearful example of. an 
Atheist who had apostatized from the Christian Reli- 
gion, and died in despair at Westminster, Dec. 8, 1692 ; 
with an exact account of his sickness, convictions, dis- 
courses with friends and ministers, and of his dreadful 
expressions and blasphemies when he left the world : as 
also a Letter from an Atheist of his acquaintance, with 
his answer to it. Published for an example to others, 
and recommended to all young persons to settle them in 
their religion. By J. S. Sanders, a Minister of the 
Church of England, a frequent visitor of him during his 
whole sickness. Printed for John Dunton, at the Raven 
in the Poultry. Price 6d." 

This was announced the preceding Saturday, Jan. 7, 
and on Jan. 17 the second edition is advertised in the 
same work. On the 24th, the third edition with the 
Methodizer's Apology, " Wherein is now discovered to 
the world, the substance of every particular that he 
knows of, in relation to this narrative." On Jan. 31, 
we find the following advertisement : " This is to give 
notice, that the Methodizer of the Second Spira designs 
no second part of that narrative, he having given the 
world an account of the whole relation in those sheets 
he has already published. This is further to give notice, 
that the genuine copies of the fore-mentioned Second 
Spira are only printed for John Dunton, at the Raven in 
the Poultry, with an Imprimatur affixed to them." In 
the same work for Feb. 4, the fourth edition is adver- 
g 2 



tised,-* and on the 7th of the same month came an 
apology from R. Wooley, M. A., and John Dunton, 
giving the reasons why they believed the account to be 
genuine ; but these are all founded on the respectability 
of the author, Mr. R. Sault. I believe the pamphlet 
terminated in the fourth edition : a sort of supplement, 
by the same author, was published March 18, 1693, en- 
titled, "A Conference betwixt a Modern Atheist and his 
Friend, printed in the same size with the Second Spira, 
that they might bind up together." 

When I first saw this account, I believed it to be, what 
I ever thought and still think the first Francis Spira to 
be, a forgery ; and a forgery of the most dangerous ten- 
dency, calculated only to drive weak persons, and those 
especially who are afflicted with morbid melancholy, into 
utter despair. I was ready however to grant, that if the 
stories were founded on any fact, the persons who were 
the subjects must have been in a state of derangement, 
as both accounts flatly contradict our Lord's assertion, 
" Every one that asketh, receiveth ; and he that seeketh, 
findeth ; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened," 
Matt. vii. 8. 

That my judgment concerning the Second Spira was 
not wrong, I learn from John Dunton himself; who, in 
the work he entitles " John Dunton's Life and Errors," 
published by him in 1705, and since republished by Mr. 
Nichols, Vol. I., p. 154, gives us the history of this 
work ; for which it appears he had been frequently called 
to an account. He tells us that he received the account 
from the above Mr. Richard Sault, who told him that he 
" had received the memoirs out of which he had formed 
the copy, from a divine of the Church of England, 
named Sanders;" and he pretended to confirm the 
truth of it, by a letter and a preface from the same gen- 


tleman : but some suspicions were excited, as he could 
never give any particular account where Mr. Sanders 
lodged. Several clergymen who came to examine Mr. 
Dunton on the truth of the story, he introduced to Mr. 
Sault, who gave them the same relation ; but took care 
not to commit himself by referring to names or places. 

"When this matter was sifted to the bottom, it was 
found that the story could be traced to no authentic 
source ; and that it was wholly the contrivance of Mr. 
Sault ; who, being a man often afflicted with morbid 
melancholy,* and its insupportable companion, despair of 
God's mercy, wrote it as a picture of his own mind. 

When the original memoirs came to be examined, 
which Mr. Sault pretended to have received from a divine 
of the church of England, they were found to be in 
Mr. Sault's own handwriting, but disguised. Mr. Dun- 
ton therefore declared his conviction that it was a forgery 
of Mr. Sault, and that he had not the slightest suspicion 
of the imposture till after the book was printed. And 
this he sets down as the first of the seven articles out of 
six hundred, which he heartily wished he had never 
committed to the press ; and advises all who had pur- 
chased any of them, to commit them to the fire. — P. 159. 

In the second volume of his Athenianism, among the 
thirty-five projects therein contained, we find the follow- 
ing : "No. 13. The Methodizer ; or Secret History of Mr. 
Sault, author of the Second Spira ; with the Narrative of 
that Imaginary "Wretch, and Dunton's Affidavit, clearing 

* Dunton mentions his coming to his house the very picture of 
despair ; and says, I heard several such broken speeches as these 
fall from him : " I am damned ! I am damned ! " After he was 
gone, Mrs. Dunton said " she was very much afraid he would do 
himself some mischief." 

G 3 



his inngcence as to any sham or fraud in publishing of 
that narrative." 

I wish this fact to he known to all religious people, 
and particularly to the Methodists. 

Had Mr. Wesley been acquainted with John Dunton's 
account of the matter, most undoubtedly he never would 
have given the narrative of the Second Spira a place in 
the Arminian Magazine. 

Mr. Sault removed to Cambridge, where he was in 
great repute for his skill in algebra. In his last sick- 
ness, his temporal necessities were supplied by the stu- 
dents; but he never once mentioned Second Spira, or 
appeared under any terrors with respect to his future 
state. He died in the early part of the year 1704, and 
was interred at St. Andrew's Church, in Cambridge. 

In the Supplement to the fifth volume there is a letter 
to the Athenian Society from Dean Swift, dated Moor 
Park, Feb. 14, 1691, accompanied with an Ode of the 
amazing length of 307 lines. The high sense which he 
entertained of the unknown conductors of this under- 
taking will appear from the two last verses : — 

Alas, how fleeting and how vain 
Is even the nobler man, our learning, and our wit, 

I sigh whene'er I think of it, 
As at the closing an unhappy scene 

Of some great king and conqueror's death, 

When the sad melancholy muse 

Stays but to catch his utmost breath. 
I grieve this noble work,* so happily begun, 
So quickly and so wonderfully carried on, 
Must fall at last to interest, folly, and abuse. 

There is a noon-tide in our lives, 

Which still the sooner it arrives, 
Although we boast our winter sun looks bright. 

» The Athenian Gazette. 


And foolishly are glad to see it at its height, 

Yet so much sooner comes the long and gloomy night. 

No conquest ever yet begun, 
And by one mighty hero carried to its height, 
* E'er flourished under a successor, or a son ; 

It lost some mighty pieces, through all hands it past, 
And vanished to an empty title in the last. 
For when the animating mind is fled, 

Which nature never can retain, 

Nor e'er call back again, 
The body, though gigantic, lies all cold and dead. 

And thus undoubtedly 'twill fare 
With what unhappy men shall dare 
To be successors to these great unknown, 
On Learning's high established throne. 
Censure, and pedantry, and pride, 
Numberless nations stretching far and wide, 
Shall (I foresee it) soon with Gothic swarms come forth 

From Ignorance's universal North, 
And with blind rage break all this peaceful government ; 
Yet shall these traces of your wit remain 
Like a just map, to tell the vast extent 
Of conquest, in your short and happy reign ; 
And to all future mankind show 
How strange a paradox is true, 
That men who lived and died without a name 
Are the chief heroes in the sacred list of Fame. 

Jonathan Swift. 

I cannot exactly tell what part Mr. Wesley had in 
this work: but after carefully examining five of the 
original volumes, with their supplements, I have been 
led to conclude that all the questions in divinity and 
ancient ecclesiastical history, most of those in poetry, 
with many of those in natural philosophy, were an- 
swered by him. The mathematical questions were, I 
suppose, all answered by Mr. Saulfc 

All communications to the Athenian Society were 



addressed to them at Smith's Coffee-house, George Yard, 
Stock's Market (now called George Street), adjoining the 
Mansion-house, in the city. Here the members occa- 
sionally met. One day some gentlemen, in a box at the 
other end of the room, had in their company an officer 
of the guards, who swore dreadfully. Mr. Wesley saw 
that he could not speak to him without much difficulty ; 
he therefore desired the waiter to bring him a glass of 
water. When it was brought, he said aloud, " Carry it 
to that gentleman in the red coat, and desire him to 
wash his mouth after his oaths." The officer rose up in 
a fury ; but the gentlemen in the box laid hold of him, 
one of them crying out, " Nay, Colonel ! you gave the 
first offence. You know it is an affront to swear in his 
presence." The officer was thus restrained, and Mr. 
Wesley departed. Some years afterwards, while Mr. 
Wesley was in London, attending convocation, on going 
through St. James's Park, a gentleman accosted him by 
an inquiry as to whether he recollected him. Mr. 
Wesley replied in the negative. The gentleman then 
recalled to his remembrance the scene at the coffee- 
house, and added, " Since that time, Sir, I thank God, 
I have feared an oath, and every thing that is offensive 
to the Divine Majesty : and as I have a perfect recol- 
lection of you, I rejoiced at seeing you, and could not 
refrain from expressing my gratitude to God and you." 
A word spoken in season, how good is it ! 

The facts related respecting his connexion with the 
Athenian Gazette, account for the way and means by 
which Mr. Wesley sustained himself, both in the uni- 
versity, and for some time after he left it ; probably to 
the time in which he got the small rectory of South 
Ormsby. By his pen and genius he profited himself 
and society ; and, had he not written too fast and too 


much, it would not be difficult to prove that he would 
not only have enriched, but adorned, all the paths of 
literature in which he walked. Of this we shall have 
ample evidences when we come to examine other pro- 
ductions of his pen. 

It may be necessary to inform the curious reader that 
the old Athenian volumes being out of print, and be- 
coming very scarce and dear, an entire collection of all 
the valuable questions and answers, intermixed with 
many cases in divinity, history, philosophy, mathema- 
tics, &c, never before published, was printed in three 
volumes, 8vo., 1703-4, for Andrew Bell, in Cornhill, 
under the title of the Athenian Oracle : to these was after- 
wards added a fourth volume, 1710. The second edition, 
as well as the first, must have had a considerable sale ; 
as a copy before me, printed in 1728, is the third edition 
of this work. Dunton reckons Bell would clear above 
£1000 by the purchase of the copyright. 

This second edition commences with a dedication, by 
Samuel "Wesley, " To the Most Illustrious and Magnani- 
mous Prince James, Duke, Marquis, and Earl of Ormond, 
Lord .Lieutenant of Ireland, &c, and Chancellor of the 
Universities of Oxford and Dublin, &c. 

" May it please your Grace, 
" The Supreme Governor of the world having consti- 
tuted your Grace a patron of learning as well as arms, 
the promoters of both think they have a natural title to 
your protection; this has emboldened me to lay the 
following sheets at your Grace's feet. The subject-matter 
of them is the marrow of arts and sciences, reduced into 
questions and answers, which have formerly met with 
good entertainment in the world. The rich treasures of 
learning they contain, and the agreeable and diverting 
method in which they are communicated, please and 



instruct, the reader at once, without any thing of that 
fatigue and irksomeness that attends many and large 
volumes. I would not have presumed to have inscribed 
your Grace's illustrious name to any thing unworthy of 
your grandeur. And since so great a judge as the late 
Sir "William Temple was pleased, not only to approve of 
the work, but to honour the Athenian Society, the 
authors of it, with frequent letters and curious questions, 
and to express his satisfaction in their answers, I hope 
your Grace will admit it as a good apology for my pre- 
sumption in this dedication ; considering that the book 
is now refined from every thing that was censured as 
mean and trifling. 

Your Grace's most humble, 
most affectionate, 
and most devoted servant, 

S. W."[esley.] 

No reader can peruse these volumes without profit ; 
for although the authors submitted to answer questions 
of little or no importance, yet the work at large contains 
many things of great importance and value. When I 
was little more than a child, an odd volume of the 
Athenian Oracle, lent me by a friend, was a source of 
improvement and delight ; and I now consult this work 
with double interest, knowing the well-nerved hand by 
which at least one-third of it was composed. 

Mr. Wesley's other works shall be all examined in 
their order. We have already seen that Mr. Wesley 
had embroiled himself with the dissenters; partly by 
his separating from them, and partly by the publication 
of a letter, relative to their mode of education in their 
private academies. Their opposition was a source of 
calamity to him and his family for several years, and 
shall be noticed in its chronological occurrence. 


The life of a learned man may be found in the history 
of his works. Mr. Wesley's pen was seldom idle ; and 
being a rapid writer, and seldom waiting to polish or 
refine, his works became numerous. His brother-in-law, 
J. Dunton, said " he used to write two hundred couplets 
a-day ; which were too many by two-thirds to be well 
furnished with all the beauties and graces of that art !" 
And to this opinion every judge of poetry must sub- 

We have seen him at college in 1685, issuing his 
juvenile poems, under the title of " Maggots ;" and in 
1691, &c, engaged with his brother-in-law, Dunton, 
and others, in the Athenian Mercury. 

In 1692, there was published by the Athenian Society 
" The Young Student's Library ; containing Extracts 
and Abridgments of the most valuable Books printed 
in England, and in the Foreign Journals, from the year 
1665 to this time, 1692. To which is added a new 
Essay upon all sorts of Learning; wherein the use of 
the Sciences is distinctly treated on. London : Printed 
for John Dunton, at the Raven in the Poultry, 1692. 
fol., pp. 500." In this collection are two original pieces 
by Mr. Wesley himself, viz., the essay mentioned above, 
and also "A Discourse concerning the Antiquity and 
Original of the Points, Vowels, and Accents that are 
placed to the Hebrew Bible. In two Parts. The first, 
wherein the opinions of Elias Levita, Ludovicus Capel- 
lus, Dr. Walton, and others, for the novelty of the 
Points, are considered, their evidences for the same exa- 
mined, and the improbability of their conceit, that the 
Masoretes of Tiberias pointed the Text, is at large dis- 
covered from the silence of the Jews about it; their 
testimonies against it ; the unfitness of the time, place, 
and persons of late assigned for the invention of the 

132 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

Points, fjpm the nature of the Masora and of the Maso- 
retic Notes on the verses, words, letters, points, vowels, 
and accents of the Old Testament. Their observations 
on all the kinds of the Keri el Ketib ; the words written 
full or defective; the Ittur Sopherim, the Tikkun 
Sopherim, and the rest of the parts of the Masora ; and 
from other considerations. In the second Part, the 
antiquity, divine original, and authority of the pre- 
sent punctuation is proved, by the testimony of Jews 
and Christians, the universal consent of all nations that 
receive the Scriptures ; their quiet possession of the 
Text, as it is now pointed by prescription, from age to 
age. The vowels (an essential part of speech) oft ex- 
pressed by punctuation only. The obscurity of the 
Scriptures without Points, which yet was commanded to 
be written very plainly. The Old Testament evidencing 
itself to be the word of God in and by the punctuation 
only. The anomalies thereof manifesting its antiquity. 
The promise of Christ, Matt. v. 18, that nothing shall 
be lost out of the Law and the Prophets ; whereof the 
Points are so great a part. The manifest absurdity of 
the contrary opinion ; and other considerations." 

This Discourse occupies forty-eight folio pages, and is 
thus spoken of in Mr. De la Crose's Works of the 
Learned, in his book for January, 1692. He says, " It 
is written by a divine, a member of the Athenian So- 
ciety, who has spent several years in the study of the 
Hebrew tongue, and shows a great deal of learning and 
piety, in maintaining the antiquity of the point-vowels 
against Lewis Capel and his followers ; he contends they 
are at least as ancient as Ezra." The work under con- 
sideration is thus spoken of also by Mr. Charles Gildon : 
" The Young Student's Library contains the substance 
of above 100 volumes, most in folio ; but I cannot pass 


over the original piece of the Hebrew Points, it being of 
that vast consequence, that on it all the Christian faith 
depends ; for if there were no points, the certainty of 
Scripture is quite out of doors. It consists of thirteen 
sheets of paper, and bears this title f_see above]. As for 
the performance of this divine, in this piece, the con- 
tents show that he has taken notice of all which can be 
raised against the opinion he defends; and the many 
years he has given himself to the study of the Hebrew 
and oriental tongues, as well as all the rabbinical learn- 
ing, leave no doubt but that the performance is equal to 
the nobleness of the subject. And, according to my 
small judgment in that way, he has done it with a great 
deal of strength of judgment, force and evidence of 
argument, and profoundness of skill. It is to be won- 
dered at, as well as complained of, that so many of our 
divines neglect the necessary study of the original text, 
in which this divine has employed several years ; so great 
was his care and zeal for the honour of the Christian 
religion, and the good, not only of those souls under his 
charge, but also of all others who will make any im- 
provement of his labours. And it were to be wished 
that the same great man would oblige the world with 
those other pieces of rabbinical learning which he men- 
tions in these sheets ; having, in these I now speak df, 
answered what has never been attempted in English." 

In another place Mr. Wesley says, " If this discourse 
about the original of the points, vowels, and accents, find 
acceptance and encouragement, I intend a distinct dis- 
course upon the sacred original text of the Old Testa- 
ment, in defence of its purity and perfection, as it is 
now enjoyed by the Protestant church ; wherein I pur- 
pose to handle all those curiosities that are the subject 
of critical observation about the same ; being very willing 

134 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

to defend our religion, and the rule of our faith, to the 
uttermost of my power." 

In the preface to the abore work it is stated, " The 
author of the Hebrew Punctuation has retired into the 
country QSouth Ormsby], where his necessary business 
will take up a great part of his time; yet whatever 
letters, objections, &c, shall be sent to him about his 
performance, if they be directed to our bookseller, they 
will come to his hands ; and he will, notwithstanding 
his business, set apart so much time as to maintain what 
he had advanced, and to answer all objections whatever.'' 
An apology is made for the work having been delayed 
by the long frost of six weeks, which hindered the 

In 1693, he published "The Life of our Blessed Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ; a Heroic Poem, in ten books: 
dedicated to her most Sacred Majesty, Queen Mary ; 
attempted by Samuel Wesley, A. M., Rector of South 
Ormsby, in the county of Lincoln. Each book illus- 
trated by necessary notes, explaining all the more diffi- 
cult matters in the whole history. Also a Prefatory 
Discourse concerning Heroic Poetry. With sixty Cop- 
per-plates." London, printed for Charles Harper, &c. 
1693, fol. 

This poem must have been several years in hand ; for 
the author, as previously stated, says he "began this 
work in the Irish Seas, and has since completed it in 
several parts of England." See his note, page 30. 

" Accept this humble verse, my life's great task ; 
Tis all I can, and more thou wilt not ask." 

Book xi., p. 251, 1. 265, and the note, p. 68. 

The work went through a second edition in 1697, 
"revised and improved, with the addition of a large 
map of the Holy Land, and a table of the principal 


matters." The plates, though anonymous, are said in 
the second edition to be done " by the celebrated hand 
of W Faithorn." A few of them this artist might have 
done ; but they are in general utterly unworthy of this 
eminent engraver. The work is preceded by commen- 
datory verses from Nahum Tate, poet-laureate ; L. Mil- 
bourne, T. Taylor, W. Pittis, H. Cutts, and P. Motteaux. 

When a poet, no matter of what abilities, takes for 
the subject of his verse the sayings or acts of the Al- 
mighty, as recorded in Divine Revelation, he must of 
necessity fail, speak untruths, and sink below himself. 
Who can add to the dignity, importance, or majesty of 
the words of God by any poetical clothing ? The attempt 
to do it is almost impious ; and in the execution, how 
many words are attributed to God which he never spoke, 
and acts which he never did ! Even the prose writers 
of the life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ have 
all failed, misrepresented facts and sayings, and (unde- 
signedly) spoke many falsities. The life of our Lord 
was never found, and never will be found, but in the 
four evangelists; and the utmost that can be done in 
this way is merely to harmonize their accounts. That 
as a theological and poetical production Mr. Wesley's 
Life of Christ has considerable merit, the sale of two 
editions of a large folio volume, in three or four years, 
is ample proof. And if we can give credit to the judg- 
ment and sincerity of his poetical recommenders, the 
work has scarcely its fellow. The poet-laureate, N. Tate, 
praises the work and the author to the utmost stretch of 
eulogium ; and seems to lay his own ground- work of the 
Version of the Psalms at Mr. Wesley's feet, and views 
him as the completer of the task which Milton left 

I shall extract a few of his verses, as the book will 

136 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

rarely be # found in the hands of those who are most 
concerned in what relates to this singular family : — 


As when some prophet, who had long retir'd, 

Returns from solitude with rapture fired, 

With full credentials made securely bold, 

To listening crowds does charmingly unfold 

What angels hymn, in awful visions told ; 

With wondrous truths surprising every breast, 

His sacred mission is by all confest : 

So you, great bard, who lay till now concealed, 

Compiling what your heavenly muse revealed, 

No sooner quit the shade, but strike our eyes 

With wonder, and our minds with ecstacies. 

E'en we, the tribe who thought ourselves inspired, 

Like glimmering stars in night's dull reign admired ; 

Like stars, a numerous but a feeble host, 

Are gladly in your morning lustre lost. 

When we (and few have been so well inclined), 

In songs attempted to instruct mankind, 

From nature's law we all our precepts drew, 

And e'en her sanctions oft perverted too ; 

Your sacred muse does revelation trace, 

And nature is by you improved to grace. 

What just encomiums, Sir, must you receive, 

Who wit and piety together weave ! 

No altar your oblation can refuse, 

Who to the temple bring a spotless muse. 

You with fresh laurels, from Parnassus borne, 

Plant Sion's hill, and Salem's towers adorn ; 

You break the charms, and from profane retreats 

Restore the Muses to their native seats. 

Our leading Moses* did this task pursue, 

And lived to have the holy land in view ; 

With vigorous youth to finish the success, 

Like Joshua, you succeed, and all possess. 

* Mr. John Milton. 


Here pious souls, what they did long desire, 
Possess their dear Redeemer's life entire : 
Here, with whole Paradise Regained they meet, 
And Milton's noble work is now complete. 

The rest of the poem is in the same style of eulogium; 
and I have quoted so much to show what was thought 
of the "Life of Christ" by no mean judges, when it first 
appeared. Posterity has not been so partial to the bard 
of Epworth.* 

It is said that Mr. Pope had such a despicable opinion 
of this poem, and the other poetical works of Mr. Wesley, 
that in one of the earlier editions of the Dunciad he 
honoured him with a niche in the temple of the " Mighty 
Mother" (Dulness). He was placed by the side of a 
respectable companion, Dr. "Watts : — 

" Now all the suffering brotherhood retire, 

And 'scape the martyrdom of jakes and fire : 

A Gothic library of Greece and Rome, 

Well purged, and worthy Wesley, Watts, and Brome." 

It is a fact, that in no edition published by Mr. Pope 
did these names ever occur. In one surreptitious edition 
they were printed thus : W — 1 — y, W — s, in book i., 
1. 126. But in the genuine editions of that work the 
line stood thus, as it does at present : — 

" Well purged, and worthy Withers, Quarles, and Blome." 

And this, in the London edition of 1729, is said to be 
the line as it stood in the original. 

That Mr. Pope had too high an opinion of Mr. 
Samuel Wesley, to make such a dishonourable insertion 

* He did not escape censure in his own day. Dunton describes 
this poem as " intolerably dull ;" and says, " as often as I take it 
up, it rather jades than gives life to my fancy." — Editor. 

138 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

of his name in the Dunciad, there can be no doubt : he 
revered him for his piety, learning, and industry. There 
was even an intimacy between them ; and Mr. Pope had 
such a high opinion of his learning and moral worth, 
that he earnestly endeavoured to serve him. This will 
be particularly evident from a letter which he wrote to 
Dean Swift, entreating him to use his influence with the 
clergy of his acquaintance, to get subscriptions for Mr. 
"Wesley's Dissertations on the Book of Job. I shall 
give an extract of this epistle, which cannot fail to set 
the matter in the clearest point of view : — 

" This is a letter extraordinary, to do and to say 

nothing, but to recommend to you (as a clergyman and 
a charitable one) a pious and a good work, and for a 
good and honest man. Moreover, he is about seventy, 
and poor, which you might think included in the word 
honest. I shall think it a kindness done to myself if 
you can propagate Mr. Wesley's subscription for his 
" Commentary on Job" among your divines (bishops ex- 
cepted, of whom there is no hope), and among such as 
are believers or readers of the Scriptures. Even the 
curious may find something to please them, if they scorn 
to be edified. It has been the labour of eight years of 
this learned man's life : I call him what he is, a learned 
man ; and I engage you will approve his prose more 
than you formerly did his poetry. Lord Bolingbroke is 
a favourer of it, and allows you to do your best to serve 
an old Tory,* and a sufferer for the Church of England, 
though you are a Whig, as I am." April 12th, 1730. 

* The epithets of Whig and Tory do not apply so appropriately 
to many of the most eminent of the clergy, between the years 1661 
and 1748, as persons are apt to imagine, who, from mere report or 


In the above words, " I engage you will approve his 
prose more than you formerly did his poetry," Mr. Pope 
refers to Dean Swift's " Battle of the Books," in which 
are these words : — " Then Homer slew Sam. Wesley 
with a kick of his horse'3 heel." But this can be no 
discredit to Mr. Wesley ; for many of our best English 
writers have been mentioned with disrespect in that 
work. Mr. Wesley spoke of his own performance with 
much modesty. " The cuts are good, the notes pretty 
good, the verses so so." And of it his eldest son Samuel 
spoke with sober commendation :— 

Whate'er his strains, still glorious was his end, 
Faith to assert, and virtue to defend. 
He sung how God the Saviour deigned to expire,* 
With Vida's piety, though not his fire ; 
Deduced his Maker's praise from page to page, 
Through the long annals of the sacred page.t 

What was of most consequence to him, it was highly 
approved of by Queen Mary, to whom it was dedicated ; 
who conferred on him the living of Epworth, in Lincoln- 
shire, which, like that of South Ormsby, was " proffered 
and given, without his ever having solicited any person ; 

popular prejudice, accustom themselves to deal them out against 
certain individuals. Let such persons try to class Sancroft, Atter- 
bury, Tenison, Wake, and some others — not according to the 
political principles of those ministers of state who happened suc- 
cessively to he in power after their elevation to the episcopal dig- 
nity, but according to their own private opinions recorded in their 
writings — and they will find some difficulty involved in the 
attempt. If the reader will turn to pp. 812 — 815 of " Calvinism 
and Arminianism Compared," by Mr. James Nichols, he will per- 
ceive the application of this difficulty to the rector of Epworth, 
and will be amply rewarded for his trouble. 
* Life of Christ, 
t History of the Old and New Testaments. 

140 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

■without his ever expecting, or even once thinking, of such 
a favour." — Answer to Palmer, p. 3. And speaking 
again on the same subject, in defence of his poem, he 
adds, "I can assure him, I agree so far with those best 
judges he mentions, that I know it is very faulty :* but 
whether it be in itself so absolutely contemptible as he 
represents it, I desire may be left to more impartial 
judges. All I can say is, it was the best I had. I ran 
as the peasant did, with my hands full of water, and 
offered it to my prince, because I had no better present ;t 
and if it was not so clear as it should have been, I hope 
that the haste will in some measure excuse it. Though 
there may be some parts of that poem, of which, I 
hope, I might say without vanity, neither myself nor my 
country have reason to be ashamed, yet I am as ready to 
acknowledge, as he and his friends are to assert, that the 

* Mr. John Wesley observes, in a letter to a friend, " In mv 
father's poem on the ' Life of Christ ' there are many excellent lines ; 
but they must be taken in connexion with the rest. It would not 
be at all proper to print them alone." That he valued his father's 
poetry so much as to induce him to treasure portions of it up in his 
memory, appears from his correspondence. " Where," he inquires 
of Charles, " is your Elegy 1 You may say, as my father in hie 
verses on Mr. Nelson — 

' Let friendship's sacred name excuse 
The last effort of an expiring muse.' " 

Works, vol. xii., pp. 304, 141. — Editor. 

t There is an allusion to the story of Artaxerxes and Sinetas, 
told by .lElian, and reported at large in " Painter's Palace of 
Pleasure," Vol. I., Novel ix. : — There was a certain Persian, 
called Sinetas, that, far from his own house, met king Artaxerxes, 
and had not wherewithal to present him : wherefore the poor man, 
because he would not neglect his duty, ran to a river called Cyrus, 
and taking both his hands full of water, spake to the king on this 
wise: "I beseech God that your majesty may evermore reign 


favours which our late blessed queen was pleased to 
bestow on me, after she had read my book, were as far 
beyond my expectation as my desert. They will not, 
however envy me the honour of having scattered a few 
verses, and more tears, over her grave." — Ibid., p. 56. 

The queen died Dec. 28th, 1694. " With a deep sense 
of religion upon her mind," says Burnet, " she lent all 
her influence to its support ; and, rising above the narrow 
prejudices that actuated too many of its professors, she 
was for drawing Christians together by the cords of love, 
rather than for binding them in the chains of an eccle- 
siastical uniformity. As the legal guardian of the Church 
of England, the management of which the king devolved 
entirely upon her, she discovered much wisdom and 
prudence ; filling up the preferments at her disposal with 
men of moderate principles, who were devoted to the 
duties of their profession. In these concerns, Tillotson, 
the most amiable of prelates, was her chief confidant ; 
and had their lives been prolonged but a few years, the 
church would have been spared the disgrace that was 
heaped upon her by the furious spirits in the next reign. 

among us ! As occasion of the place, and mine ability at this 
instant serreth, I am come to honour your majesty, to the intent 
you may not pass without some present, for which cause I give 
unto you this water. But if your grace had once encamped your- 
self, I would go home to my house for the best and dearest things I 
have ; and peradventure the same shall not be much inferior to the 
gifts which others do now give you." Artaxerxes, delighted with 
this act, said unto him, " Good fellow, I thank thee for this pre- 
sent ; the same is as acceptable to me as the best gift in the world : 
First, Because water is the best of all things ; Secondly, Because 
the river out of which thou didst take it is called Cyrus. Where- 
fore I command thee to come before me when I am at my camp." 
And he ordered his eunuchs to take the water, and put it in a cup 
of gold, &c. 

142 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

The death of Tillotson, which happened about five weeks 
before that of the queen, was a most serious loss both to 
the church and the nation." In the beginning of March, 
1695, Mr. Wesley published his "Elegies on Queen 
Mary, and on Archbishop Tillotson," eight sheets folio, 
both written in the highest strains of eulogy. In that 
on the queen, he represents the martyr Charles stooping 
from heaven to receive her thither ; and Palmer sarcas- 
tically adds, " he could do no less than pay this piece of 
ceremony, and regale her in the highest manner for 
taking possession of her father's throne, and filling ic 
better than he did himself." The queen's character may 
be seen in stanza X. : — 

Sure she was formed by Heaven to show 

What undissembled piety could do, 

To what a height religion might be raised ; 

(She hears not now, and therefore may be praised). 

Would Virtue take a shape, she'd choose to appear, 

And think, and speak, and dress, and live like her. 

Zeal without heat, devotion without pride, 

Work without noise, did all her hours divide ; 

Wit without trifling, prudence without guile, 

Pure faith, which no false reasonings e'er could spoil, 

With her, secured and blest our happy Isle. 

One harsh, old-fashioned truth to court she brought, 

And made it there almost believed again ; 
Her practice showed her judgment thought, 

That princes must be saved like other men. 
No single world could her great soul employ, 
Earth her diversion was, but heaven her joy. 

If ought with that her thoughts could share, 

'Twas her ungrateful subjects' care. 
Our hovering fate she saw, and stepped between, 

Deserving all her great forefathers claimed, 

The Faith's Defender more than named, 
More than in title the Most Christian Queen. 

Elegy, p. 8, ver. sii. 


Great and good as both the queen and the archbishop 
were, both the characters are sadly overdrawn, and their 
praises are extended even beyond poetic license. But 
the poems cannot bear the imputation of flattery, as both 
the sovereign and the prelate were dead, and none suc- 
ceeded them who were at all likely to show favour to the 
poet of Axholme. 

These, and some other of his early productions, ex- 
cited the ridicule of the wits, and made him the subject 
of such an occasional squib as the following, of Dunton's : 

" Poor harmless Wesley, let him write again ; 
Be pitied in his old heroic strain ; 
Let him in reams proclaim himself a dunce, 
And break a dozen stationers at once." 

His son, Samuel Wesley, very fairly retorted upon him 
in the poem, entitled, " Neck or Nothing," when he put 
the following lines into Dunton's mouth : — 

" Have I alone obliged the press, 
With fifteen hundred treatises, 
Printers and stationers undone — 
A plagiary in every one V 

12mo. edit., p. 261. 

In Carlisle's " Topographical Dictionary," the rectory 
of Epworth is said to be valued in the king's books at 
£28. 16s. 8d. The parish contains 5500 acres, and the 
church is dedicated to St. Andrew. Mr. Wesley, speak- 
ing of the whole Isle of Axholme, states the population 
to be near 10,000, * among whom," says he, " there is 
but one presbyterian, and one papist to balance him." 

In 1698, Mr. Wesley published " A Sermon preached 
before the Society for the Eeformation of Manners," 8vo. 
This also I have not seen. 

Since the first edition of these Memoirs was published, 
I have met with the printed " Letter concerning the Ee- 

144 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

ligious Societies," written in 1699, and also an original 
letter in the hand-writing of Archbishop Sharp, which, 
both from the subject and the date, is supposed by some 
to hare been written to Mr. Wesley. I had intended to 
have given only the substance of Mr. Wesley's letter; 
but, upon a review of it, I think the document so im- 
portant, that I am sure my readers will be thankful to 
have the whole of it introduced. It is an able and satis- 
factory defence of the societies which were afterwards 
formed by his excellent sons, the Rev. John and Charles 
Wesley. The letter appears at first to have been ad- 
dressed to a private individual, and afterwards printed 
for the benefit of the public. It is as follows : — 


" Sir, 

" Having in conversation accidentally mentioned those 
religious societies which have been for some time erected 
in and about the cities of London and Westminster, and 
of late in some other places, you were pleased to desire 
a more particular account concerning them, of their 
orders and manner of life, and what my thoughts were 
as to what we then heard objected against them. 

" I must confess I have had the curiosity to make a 
particular inquiry about them, and the informations I 
have received have been from such persons as I think 
I may entirely depend upon for the truth of them, and 
what I have from them I here very briefly give you, re- 
ferring them for a longer account to Mr. Woodward's 
little book on that subject. 

" In the first place, I find many persons are in the same 
mistake which you were once in, and confound these reli- 
gious societies with the societies for reformation, though 
they are quite different as to their institution and imme- 


diate ends, and for the most part, as to the persons of which 
they are composed. The immediate business of the socie- 
ties for reformation is, to assist the civil magistrates in put- 
ting the laws in execution against profaneness and immo- 
rality, and consist of sober persons of any persuasion among 
protestants, though most of them, as far as I can observe, 
of the Church of England ; but religious societies, as 
we call them for distinction from the other, are com- 
posed of such as meet together wholly upon a religious 
account, to promote true piety in themselves and others, 
and are all of them strict members 6f the Church of 
England, none being admitted or suffered to continue, 
who are not constant communicants : many of these, 
indeed, are likewise engaged in the business of the re- 
formation, and so on the other side; but this is only 
accidental, and these two are distinct bodies of men one 
from the other. 

" I cannot tel! whether I can give you a better cha- 
racter of those persons who compose these religious 
societies, and their design and employment in them, 
than what Tertullian and other ancient writers have left 
us of the first Christians, in the best and purest ages of 
the church: I am sure I cannot speak more truth of 
them in fewer words. 

"'They often meet together,' say the ancients of those 
first Christians, ' ad confcederandam disciplinam ; and 
to pray and sing hymns to Christ as God.' ' We assem- 
ble ourselves,' says Tertullian, ' to the repetition of the 
Holy Scriptures ; we support our faith by religious dis- 
course ; we excite our hope, we fix our confidence, we 
increase our knowledge, by the exhortations of our 
teachers; we gather a stock for the poor according to 
every man's ability, which we expend, not in riotous 
feasting, but in helping the indigent, and orphans, and 

146 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

age<^ and those who are persecuted for the cause of 

" This is their design and employment in their meet- 
ings ; and for the methods whereby they regulate them, 
they appear to be chosen with all Christian prudence ; 
but they are too large to be here inserted, and therefore 
I must again refer you to Mr. Woodward's book for a 
full account of them. 

" The main thing for which I am concerned, is to 
give you my reasons why I believe such societies as 
these, if further propagated, would be so far from being 
any injury to the church, as may be the opinion of some 
persons who either may not fully understand them, or 
are prejudiced against them, that I think I can make 
it appear they would be of great advantage to it. 

" I know few good men but lament that, after the de- 
struction of monasteries, there were not some societies 
founded in their stead, but reformed from their errors, 
and reduced to the primitive standard. None who have 
but looked into our own church history can be ignorant 
how highly instrumental such bodies of men as these 
were to the first planting and propagating Christianity 
amongst our forefathers. Tis notorious that the first 
monks wrought honestly for their livings, and only met 
together at the hours of prayer, and necessary refection, 
as do most of those in the eastern countries to this day : 
and those who read the exemplary piety of the old 
British monks, and what indefatigable pains they took, 
and what hazards they ran, in the conversion of our 
heathen ancestors, as well as how stoutly they withstood 
the early encroachments of Rome, cannot but entertain 
an extraordinary opinion of them, and will be apt to 
judge charitably of their great austerities and ascetic 
way of living, though, perhaps, we may be in the right, 


when we think they were in some things mistaken. 
However, this is certain, that a great part of the good 
effects of that way of life may be attained without many 
of the inconveniences of it, by such societies as we are 
now discoursing of, which may be erected in the most 
populous towns and cities, without depriving the com- 
monwealth of the service and support of so many useful 

" It will be owned a desirable thing that we had 
among us some places wherein those who are religiously 
disposed might have the liberty for a time of a voluntary 
retirement ; that they might escape the world, and vaeare 
Deo et sibimet ipsis. This was once practised, with great 
applause of all good men, by Mr. Farrar, of which we 
have an account in Mr. Herberts's life, and a larger (as 
I have heard) in Bishop Hacket's life of Bishop Wil- 
liams ; and the same has been lately attempted by Mr. 
S But if this should not be practicable, at least 

generally, by men of trade and business, though of never 
so devout inclinations, I see nothing that could come 
nearer it than these religious societies. The design of 
that excellent person, Archbishop Cranmer, to have 
founded so many collegiate churches out of the broken 
monasteries, to consist of some laity, as well as clergy, 
seems to have had something in it of the same nature 
(though in a higher degree) with that of these Christian 
societies now erected, namely, to make a stand for reli- 
gion and virtue, so many redoubts against an encroaching 
world, where any might receive counsel and advice, who 
addressed themselves unto them; but since we were 
not so happy to have this accomplished, why may not 
these societies in some measure supply the want of 
them ? For if they were once erected in the most con- 
siderable towns and populous villages, or, where one was 

148 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

not large enough, out of more neighbouring villages 
united, they might be able notably to assist the rural 
deans, where there are any, and in some measure supply 
their want where there are none : and would not this 
disarm that objection against diocesan episcopacy, which 
is brought from the extent of its jurisdiction ? 

" However, if this be ultra ciepidam, it is certain that 
this would hold of parish priests, and they would, as 
some have already done, soon find extraordinary advan- 
tages by it. There are a great many parishes in this 
kingdom, which consist of several thousands, some of 
some myriads of souls : now, what one man, or two, or 
three, is sufficient for such a multitude ? what strength 
to visit them ? what memory, unless very extraordinary, 
to retain but their names ? Those who have but one or 
two thousand, will find their cares heavy enough, especi- 
ally now they have neither the catechists of the ancients 
to assist them, nor those clerks which are mentioned in 
the Rubrick, and seem to have been designed for that 
end, at the reformation : and may not we say of these 
great numbers, as the disciples did to our Saviour when 
they saw the multitude, From whence shall we buy bread 
that these may eat ? But would not these things be ren- 
dered much more easy to the careful pastor, when such 
considerable bodies should act pn subornation to him, and 
with direction from him,] to promote those -great ends, 
for which he has so solemnly dedicated himself to God ? 
They would be as so many churchwardens, or overseers, 
or almost deacons under him, caring for the sick and 
poor, giving him an account of the spiritual estate of 
themselves and others ; persuading parents and sureties 
to catechise their children, and fitting them for confirma- 
tion ; discoursing with those who have already left the 
church, to bring them back to it, or who are tempted to 


leave it, in order to preserve them in it ; the effect 
whereof we may guess by the contrary, there being, it is 
likely, ten who are persuaded to leave the church by 
their neighbours, to one who is immediately wrought 
upon by the dissenting teachers. This assistance would 
in all probability conduce as much to the health of the 
minister's body, by easing him of many a weary step 
and fruitless journey, as to the great satisfaction of his 
mind, in the visible success of his labours. In short, it 
seems a necessary consequence, both from what success 
the design has already had, and from the very nature of 
it, that, if it went forward in such manner and with 
such limitations as are proposed, it would be so far from 
injuring the church, that these several societies would 
be so many new bulwarks against its enemies, would 
give it daily more strength, and beauty, and reputation, 
and, it may be, more than many wish to see it ever 

" And for the state, they might also be not inconsider- 
ably serviceable to it, and highly promote loyalty and 
obedience, as well as all other parts of religion and 

" There is hardly any considerable design but may be 
carried with much greater success by united bodies of 
men than by single persons. We see it in trades every 
day ; and why should we not learn from those who are 
wise in their generation ? We see what a wide progress 
heresy and infidelity have made by their poisonous clubs 
and combinations : the very players are formed into com- 
panies, or they could not be half so mischievous to reli- 
gion and morality. The Church of Rome owes, perhaps, 
her very subsistence, at least most of the progress she 
has made of late years, to those several societies she 
nourishes in her bosom : why may we not learn from 

150 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

enemies f and what better way than to fight with their 
own weapons ? at least, why may not we have congre- 
gations to propagate good manners, as they have one to 
propagate their ill faith ? 

" Nay, it must be owned there have been some devout 
persons among them, who, by this very method of forming 
lesser religious societies in towns and villages, as well as 
the greater cities, have done great things towards the 
reformation of manners, and promoting piety and virtue. 
The noble and pious Monsieur de Renty, in France, was 
of the number : he employed much of his time in this 
happy exercise, particularly at Caen, where he settled 
many societies of devout persons, to meet weekly, and 
consult about the relief of the poor, and preventing 
offences against God, which succeeded to admiration : 
he did the same among tradesmen, both at Paris and 
Tolouse, whom he brought constantly to go to prayers, 
sing psalms, read books of devotion, and discourse of 
their spiritual concerns one with another ; and used all 
his interest with gentlemen of his acquaintance to erect 
petty societies of the same nature even in lesser villages, 
where they had any influence over the inhabitants. And 
why should we not transplant any excellent fruit into 
our own soil, and get all the good we can from persons 
of all communions ? 

" Public assemblies in the church, though constantly 
and devoutly attended by the members of these societies, 
yet must be owned to be improper, on several accounts, 
for those excellent ends which they propose in their 
stated meetings. 'Tis not there proper to discourse of 
many things which fall under their care, nor is there 
any room for Christian conversation, if it were decent to 
practise it. Pious discourse must be owned as necessary 
as it is a delightful employment to all good Christians,' 


and yet what more generally and shamefully neglected, 
and even hy the accursed rules of civility exploded out 
of the world ? This practice, that late excellent person, 
Dr. Goodman, has endeavoured to retrieve, and has re- 
commended it in so charming a manner in his Winter- 
evening Conference, that he would not have failed of 
making many converts to it, had there heen virtue 
enough left in the world to make use of his directions. 
Now, if this religious discourse be lawful and commend- 
able where it is accidental, or among a few persons only, 
I would fain to know how it should come to be other- 
wise, when it is stated and regulated, and among a 
greater number ? Is it any more a conventicle than 
any other meetings ? Is there any law that it offends 
against ? Is it any greater crime to meet and sing psalms 
together, than to sing profane songs, or waste hours in 
impertinent chat or drinking ? Indeed, one would almost 
wonder how a design of this nature should come to have 
any enemies ; nor can I see any reason why good men 
should be discouraged from joining in it by those hard 
words, faction, singularity, and the like, when all pos- 
sible care is taken to 'give no just offence in the ma- 
nagement of it. 

"The design of these societies, as I am satisfied by con- 
sidering the first founder, and the encouragers of them, 
and their rules as well as practice, is, by no means to 
gather churches out of churches, to foment new schisms 
and divisions, and to make heathens of all the rest of 
their Christian brethren; which would be as indefensible 
in itself, as dangerous and fatal in its consequences, both 
to themselves and others : so far are they from this, 
that they have brought back several to the church who 
were divided from it ; but their aim is purely and only 
to promote, in a regular manner, that which is the end 

152 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

of every. Christian, the glory of God, included in the 
welfare and salvation of themselves and their neigh- 
bours ; and if any rational method could be proposed, 
besides those they have already pitched upon, to guard 
against these possible inconveniences, there is no doubt 
but they would embrace it. Though, after all, how there 
can possibly be any occasion of schism, any crevice for it 
to creep in at, where nothing is done but in subordination 
to the lawful ministry, and by direction from it, and 
where one of the very bonds of the society is the con- 
stant frequenting of public prayers and communions, 
while on the other side there is no visible private interest 
to serve, no faction to flatter or humour, I must confess 
I am not sharp-sighted enough to discern, and dare 
challenge any instance of a schism anywhere occasioned, 
in such circumstances, ever since the birth of Chris- 

" It cannot be denied but that there may and will be 
some persons in these societies of more heat than light, 
more zeal and warmth than judgment and discretion; 
but where was ever any body of men without some of 
such a character ? They are of like passions with other 
men, and why may not they expect the same allowances ? 
But since the very rules of their institution do strictly 
oblige them to the practice of humility and charity, and 
to avoid censoriousness and spiritual pride, the common 
rocks of those who make a more than ordinary profession 
of religion, I see not what human prudence can pro- 
vide any farther in this matter. 

" I had like to have forgot one considerable advantage 
of these religious societies, if they should once come to 
be more common amongst us ; and that is, that out of 
them it would be easy to form societies for reforma- 
tion; for persons must be first truly and deeply con- 


cerned for religion themselves, before they are likely to 
be so concerned for others as to be willing to sacrifice all 
to make them better. That there is need of a general 
reformation of manners has not been denied even by 
those who have had the most need of it themselves ; and 
that the governors, both in church and state, do most 
earnestly desire it, we can no less doubt, without the 
highest affront to both, when they have, by so many 
repeated acts, solemnly declared as much to the nation. 
That a firm combination of good men is the best way to 
bring this design to a good issue, we may more than 
guess by what has been already done by such methods ; 
and for all the objections which have been brought 
against those who have embarked in this pious and 
generous undertaking, I believe there is no unprejudiced 
person who has read the Right Reverend Bishop of 
Gloucester's defence of them, but are fully satisfied that 
they have but very little weight, and are there fairly 
answered. And as it is known that the late archbishop 
was a hearty friend of them and their design, so his 
most reverend successor has given them a just and noble 
commendation in his letter to the bishops of his pro- 
vince ; wherein he requires them ' to press the clergy 
of their respective dioceses to invite their churchwardens, 
and other pious persons among the laity, to join with 
them in carrying on the reformation of manners.' After 
which, he adds, ' We may very reasonably expect the 
happy effects of such a concurrence, from the visible 
success of that noble zeal wherewith so many about the 
great cities do promote true piety and a reformation of 
manners.' Thus far our most reverend metropolitan : 
and since that time, the same design has been publicly 
espoused and recommended by several others of the 



highest cKaracter. And, indeed, if the general reforma- 
tion of men's manners he ever effected hy the terror of 
the laws without execution, or those laws he ever effec- 
tually executed by the straggling endeavours of a few 
good men, who charge singly against such infernal hosts 
of infidelity and lewdness, — if any thing considerable 
herein be accomplished, unless by such a combination, I 
shall own myself happily mistaken ; but whether I am 
or no, the event will teach posterity. I shall conclude 
this long letter with the remarkable words of the excel- 
lent author of the Whole Duty of Man, in his Causes 
of the Decay of Christian Piety, at the close of the 
Twentieth Chapter. 

" ' That scandal,' says he, ' which we have brought 
upon our religion, as it was not contracted by the irre- 
gularities of one or two persons, but by associated and 
common crimes, so neither will it be removed by a few 
single and private reformations. There must he com- 
binations and public confederacies in virtue, to balance 
and counterpoise those of vice, or they will never recover 
that honour which she acquired by the general piety of 
her professors.' He goes on : 'In those primitive days, 
there was such an abhorrence of all that was ill, that 
a vicious person was looked upon as a kind of monster 
or prodigy, and like a putrified member cut off, as being 
not only dangerous, but noisome to the body : but, alas, 
the scene is so changed, that the church is now made 
up of such as she would then have cast out ; and 'tis 
now as remarkable an occurrence to find a good Chris- 
tian as it was then to see a bad. 

" I shall add no more, but that it was well the worthy 
author concealed his name, when he published such dis- 
obliging truths ; at least, if he had been now living, he 


would scarce have escaped the censure of forwardness, 
and a zeal not according to knowledge. 

" I am your obliged friend, 

" Samuel "Wesley." 

The letter of Archbishop Sharp, to which reference 
has been made, is as follows : — 

" Rev. Sir, 

" I had the favour of yours, which that I did not 
answer sooner you might impute to the many affairs of 
sundry kinds (some of them small enough but unavoid- 
able), which do still take up our time. 

"It is a nice case you write about, and I dare not 
take upon me to give any directions in it. 

" I myself have always been averse to such sort of con- 
federacies or combinations, whether of clergy or others, 
as are now on foot everywhere, whether they be those 
called religious societies, or those of a later standing, 
which go under the name of Societies for Reformation ; 
as doubting whether they be legal in themselves (though, 
with submission, I think it may bear a dispute whether 
they come under those conventicles that are forbid in 
the 12th and 73rd canons), and apprehending, likewise, 
that some time or other we may feel ill consequences 
from them. And for these reasons I refused my sub- 
scription the last year to that book which was writ for 
the recommending these societies; though I was ear- 
nestly, by letters from two of the bishops, pressed to 
join my hand with theirs. 

" But though these be my private sentiments, I find 
many of the bishops of another mind. Some of them 
look upon these societies for reformation to be of mighty 
use. And considering how remiss the magistrates gene- 

156 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

rally ar« in executing the laws against profaneness and 
immorality, they think there is no other way to retrieve 
that zeal for religion which is every where lost among us, 
and to promote a reformation of manners, hut hy such 
a joint endeavour of well-disposed persons ; and accord- 
ingly they do what they can to promote societies in their 
respective dioceses. Others of the hishops go not so far, 
but content themselves to endeavour the regulating and 
keeping them within bounds when they are voluntarily 
entered into. 

" The truth is, the societies of London have been so 
industrious in spreading their books, and the success 
they have had (as they say) in this way has made such 
a noise every where, that the whole nation almost hath 
taken the alarm. And so eagerly in many places are the 
minds of the people set upon these new methods, that it 
may justly be doubted whether it be in the bishop's 
power to stifle or suppress these societies, though he 
should use his utmost endeavours to do it. 

" Add to this that" many of the clergy take encourage- 
ment to enter into these societies from a passage of my 
Lord of Canterbury's Circular Letter, which was sent the 
last year to the bishops of his province, though it is cer- 
tain in that passage he did not intend the setting up 
such formal associations, under rules and articles, as are 
now formed in many places. The passage is in the fourth 
paragraph of the letter, where he says, ' It were to be 
wished, that the clergy of every neighbourhood would 
agree upon frequent meetings to consult for the good of 
religion, &c. * * * And these meetings might still 
be made a greater advantage to the clergy in carrying on 
the reformation of men's lives and manners, by inviting 
the churchwardens of their several parishes, and other 
pious persons among the laity, to join with them in the 


execution of the most probable methods that can be 
suggested for those good ends. And we may very rea- 
sonably expect the happy effects of such a consequence, 
from the visible success of that noble zeal wherewith so 
many about the cities of London and Westminster do 
promote true piety,' &c. 

" I have transcribed thus much out of that printed 
letter for fear you should not have it by you. 

" Upon these considerations I am thus far come into 
these projects, that I tell my clergy, when any of them 
apply to me about this matter (as very lately some of 
•them have done), that as for their meeting together, as 
they have convenience of neighbourhood, for the pro- 
moting religion and reformation in their parishes, it is a 
thing I would advise them to ; but as to the societies 
for reformation that are now on foot in several places, 
they are new things, and for which there is no founda- 
tion in our laws and canons, and we do not know what 
consequences they may in time produce ; and therefore 
I dare not be the author or adviser to any one, either 
clergyman or layman, to embark in these projects. Never- 
theless, being sensible that a great many wise and good 
men do approve of these societies, I will not think the 
worse of any man for engaging in them, nor shall these 
societies meet with any discouragement from me, so long 
as they keep within the bounds which thg laws of the 
land and of the church have prescribed. 

" Letters to this effect I have writ to some of my 
clergy, who consulted me. But I must confess, I came 
not to this degree of compliance but after a great deal 
of discourse with several of the bishops. What my Lord 
Bishop of Carlisle will think fit to do in the present case 
of the chancellor, must be left to his own prudence, 
which I know is very great. I must confess, I dare not 

158 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

advise him : only this I believe I may say, that I think 
he will have gained a good point if he can prevail with 
Mr. Chancellor to quit his dissenting associates. And if 
he be resolved on a society for reformation, let only such 
be taken into it as are hearty churchmen. 

" I beg my hearty service to his lordship, with abun- 
dance of good wishes of his long life and happiness. 
The same be pleased to accept yourself, from, 

" Sir, 
" Your very affectionate servant, 
" Feb. 27, 1699." " Jo. Ebor." 

" I send you herewith a print, which I received out of 
my diocese, abundance of them being sent down thither."* 

As the foregoing letters advert to the societies for 

* That the archbishop's letter refers to the " religious societies" 
advocated by the rector of Epworth , is not to be disputed ; but that the 
letter was addressed to Mr. Wesley in reply to his remarks upon them, 
is matter of doubt. Had the date been affixed to Mr. Wesley's letter, 
and the address been appended to that of the archbishop, it would 
have been more satisfactory. 1 . The manner in which the archbishop 
opens his letter shows that it is a reply to a " case" submitted for 
consideration, rather than a fair and formal discussion of the sub- 
ject of Mr. Wesley's epistle. 2. His lordship speaks of numerous 
references to him on the same topics ; and this, among others, 
might be intended to show the applicant how to act, who appears 
to have been more in suspense than Mr. W. ; the latter, in fact, 
being decided on the subject. 3. In the archbishop's letter, his 
correspondent is referred to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Cir- 
cular, lest he should not have it by him ; whereas Mr. Wesley quotes 
,from the same letter, which is evidence of his having it in his 
possession. 4. The archbishop requests his " hearty service to his 
lordship, with abundance of good wishes," intimating the letter, to 
which he gives the reply, to be as closely connected with the palace 
or the castle, as with the rectory. — Editor. 


reformation, I would just remark, that the late Rev. 
John "Wesley preached a sermon before the Society for 
the Reformation of Manners, to the early editions of 
which he appended the following : — " N. B. After this 
society had subsisted several years, and done unspeak- 
able good, it was wholly destroyed by a verdict given 
against it in the Court of King's Bench, with three 
hundred pounds damages. I doubt a severe account 
remains for the witnesses, the jury, and all who were 
concerned in that dreadful affair." 

The next in point of time is, " The Pious Communi- 
cant rightly prepared; or a Discourse concerning the 
Blessed Sacrament ;" wherein the nature of it is described, 
our obligation to frequent communion enforced, and 
directions given for due preparation for it, behaviour at 
and after it, and profiting by it. With prayers and 
hymns suited to the several parts of that holy office. To 
which is added, " A short Discourse of Baptism. By 
Samuel Wesley, A. M., Chaplain to the most honourable 
John Lord Marquis of Normanby, and rector of Epworth, 
in the diocese of Lincoln." London, printed for Charles 
Harper, 1700, 12mo., upwards of 280 pages, including 

To this work was annexed a double appendix ; of 
which, in the preface, he speaks thus : — " The former 
relating to our religious societies, whose rules and orders 
have been published and defended by Dr. Woodward in 
his late book upon the subject, and my Lord Bishop of 
Bath and Wells in the life of Dr. Horneck : their 
whole design appeared to me to be so highly serviceable 
to Christianity, that I could not but take this opportunity 
to recommend them. And the latter [[Appendix], which 
relates to baptism, will be granted not unnecessary, when 
several (I hope) well-meaning persons, especially in those 

160 of mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

parts Tshere I live, are unsatisfied about it. Likewise, I 
have added the great Hallel, or paschal hymn, which was 
usually sung by the Jews at their passover, and by our 
Saviour and his apostles at the institution of this sacra- 

In this work I find very little to praise besides the 
pious intention. It has the general character, and indeed 
the faults, of those works generally termed " The Week's 
Preparation before the Sacrament," which are all in- 
finitely below what any one may find in the Communion 
Service, in the Book of Common Prayer. The argu- 
ments in this work are neither happily chosen, nor con- 
clusive; and the objections not well answered. It is the 
most imperfect of all the literary works of the rector of 
Epworth, which I have seen. 

The great Hallel, or paschal hymn, which Mr. Wesley 
has appended, had its name from the word rrVAn halle- 
lujah, " Praise ye Jehovah ;" and consisted of the follow- 
ing psalms : cxiii., civ., cxv., cxvi., cxvii., and cxviii. 
These six psalms were always sung at every paschal 
solemnity ; and this great Hallel they sung on account 
of the five great benefits referred to in it. 1. The 
exodus from Egypt, Psalm cxiv. 1 : " When Israel went 
out of Egypt," &c. 2. The miraculous division of the 
Red Sea, ver. 3 : " The sea saw it, and fled." 3. The 
promulgation of the law, ver. 4 : " The mountains skipped 
like rams." 4. The resurrection of the dead, Psalm 
cxvi. : " I will walk before the Lord in the land of the 
living." 5. The passion of the Messiah, Psalm cxv. 1 : 
" Not unto us, Lord, not unto us," &c. 

Why should not these psalms be said or sung at every 
sacramental occasion ? Is not the example of our Lord 
and his apostles a sufficient warrant ? And would not 
this circumstance bring us a little nearer to the primitive 


form of celebration ? The psalms themselves are highly 
excellent ; and many parts of them peculiarly appropriate. 
I shall conclude my observations by introducing Psalm 
cxvi., as a specimen of these paschal hymns, as versified 
by the rector of Epworth : — 

1. O God, who when I did complain 

Did all my griefs remove ; 
Saviour, do not now disdain 
My humble praise and love ! 

2. Since thou a gentle ear didst give 

And hear me when I prayed, 
I'll call upon thee while I live, 
And never doubt thine aid. 

3. Pale Death, with all his ghastly train, 

My soul encompassed round ; 
Anguish, and woe, and hellish pain, 
Too soon, alas ! I found. 

4. Then to the Lord of life I prayed, 

And did for succour flee : 
O save in my distress, I said, 

The soul that trusts in thee ! 
5, 6. How good and just ! how large his grace ! 

How easy to forgive ! 
The simple he delights to raise, 

And by his love I live. 
7. Then, O my soul, be still, nor more 

With anxious thoughts distressed ! 
God's bounteous love does thee restore 

To wonted ease and rest. 
8, 9. My eyes no longer drowned in tears, 

My feet from stumbling free, 
Redeemed from death and deadly fears, 

O Lord, I'll live to thee. 

10. When nearest pressed, I still believed, 

11. Still gloried in thy aid ; 

Though when by faithless men deceived, 
All, all are false, I said. 

162 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

12. To him what offerings shall I make, 
Whence my salvation came ? 
The cup of blessing* now I'll take, 
15. And call upon his name. 

14. Those vows which in my greatest straits 

Unto the Lord I made, 
Shall now be at his temple gates, 
Before his people, paid. 

15. That life which thou, O Lord, didst save. 

From raging tyrants free, 

16. That ransomed life thy bounty gave, 

I dedicate to thee. 

17. My heart and voice at once I'll raise, 

Thy goodness to proclaim ; 
With loud and grateful songsf of praise, 
I'll call upon thy name. 

18. Yes, all those vows which in my straits 

Unto the Lord I made, 
Shall now be at his temple gates, 
Before his people, paid. 

19. His priests shall mix their hymns with mine, 

His goodness to record ; 
And all Jerusalem shall join, 
With me, to praise the Lord. 

His next publication was, " An Epistle to a Friend 
concerning Poetry." London, printed*for Charles Harper, 
1700. 32 pp. folio. It is a poem containing nearly 
eleven hundred lines. In this production he shows con- 
siderable knowledge of his subject, of which he takes a 
comprehensive view. It contains several excellent verses, 
but, like most of his other productions, appears to have 
been written in great haste, and not to have been revised 
with sufficient care and attention. In the preface he 

norrjptov aurripiov. + Qvaiif atviatu£. 


states its design, and mentions, with considerable emo- 
tion, the strong tendency to infidel principles which then 
prevailed in the minds of several literary men. This 
preface furnishes additional evidence of the low state of 
religion in the country, before his two excellent sons, 
and coadjutor, Whitfield, entered upon their ministerial 
labours. He observes : " The direct design of a great 
part of this poem is to serve the cause of religion and 
virtue; for I cannot, with patience, see my country 
ruined by the prodigious increase of infidelity and im- 
morality, nor forbear crying out with some vehemence, 
when I am giving warning to all honest men to stand up 
in the defence of it, when it is in greater and more 
imminent danger than it was formerly from the Spanish 
Armada. If things go on as they now are, we are in a 
fair way to become a nation of atheists. It is now no 
difficult matter to meet with those who pretend to be 
lewd upon principle. They attack religion in form, and 
would turn the very Scriptures against themselves, and 
labour hard to remove a Supreme Being out of the world ; 
or if they do vouchsafe him any room in it, it is only 
that they may find fault with his works, which they 
think, with that blasphemer of old, might have been 
much better ordered, had they themselves stood by and 
directed the architect. They will tell you the errors of 
nature are everywhere plain and visible ; or as one of 
their own poets : 

' Here she's too sparing, there profusely vain.' 

What would these men have, or why cannot they be 
content to sink single into the bottomless gulf, without 
dragging so much company with them ? Can they grapple 
Omnipotence, or thunder with a voice like God ? Could 
they annihilate hell indeed, they might be tolerably happy, 

164 op me. Wesley's ancestors. 

more * quietly rake through the world, and sink into 
nothing. The cowards will not believe a God, because 
they dare not ; for woe be to them if there be one, and 
consequently any future punishments ! From such as 
these I desire no favour, but that of their ill word ; as 
their crimes must expect none from me, whose character 
obliges me to declare an eternal war against vice and 
infidelity, though at the same time heartily to pity those 
who are infected with it. If I could be ambitious of a 
name in the world, it should be that I might sacrifice it 
in so glorious a cause as that of religion and virtue. If 
none but generals must fight in this sacred war, when 
there are such infernal hosts on the other side, they could 
never prevail without one of the ancient miracles. If 
little people* can but discharge the place of a private 
sentinel, it is all that is expected from us. I hope I 
shall never let the enemies of God and my country come 
on without firing, though it were but to give the alarm ; 
and if I die without quitting my post, I desire no greater 
glory. I had no personal pique against any whose 
characters I may have given in this poem, nor think 
the worse of them for their thoughts of me. I hope I 
have everywhere done them justice, and, as well as I 
could, have given them commendation where they de- 
serve it." 

The following lines are a fair specimen of our author's 
manner in this poetical production. They exhibit a 
correct view of the style and manner of two of our most 
celebrated and ancient bards : — 

* Samuel Wesley was low in stature; this phrase, therefore, 
"little people," must be literally understood as applying to himself. 
In referring to his correspondence with Palmer, we find the latter 
remarking, " We are not to be bullied by little Wesley. — Editor. 


" Of Chaucer's verse we scarce the measures know, 

So rough the lines, and so unequal flow ; 

Whether by injury of time defaced, 

Or careless at the first, and writ in haste ; 

Or coarsely, like old Ennius, he designed, 

What after-days have polished and refined. 

Spencer, more smooth and neat, and none than he 

Could better skill of English quantity ; 

Though by his stanza cramped, his rhymes less chaste, 

And antique words affected, all disgraced ; 

Yet vast his genius, noble were his thoughts, 

Whence equal readers wink at lesser faults." 

The following is a sketch of the extraordinary poetical 
abilities of Dryden, and contains strong, but just, reflec- 
tions on the licentious character of many of his pro- 
ductions. The extract is the more valuable on account 
of the information it gives respecting the motives by 
which Mr. "Wesley was actuated in presenting to the 
world his different poetical pieces : — 

Of matchless Dryden, only Dryden' s skill 
Could justly say enough, — of good or ill. 
Envy must own he has our tongue refined, 
And manly sense with tenderest softness joined ; 
His verse would stones and trees with soul inspire, 
As did the Theban and the Thracian lyre ; 
His youthful fire within, like Etna, glows, 
Though venerable age around his temples snows. 
If from the modern or the ancient store 
He borrows aught, he always pays them more : 
So much improved, each thought so fine appears, ' 
Waller or Ovid scarce durst own them theirs. 

The learned Goth hath scoured all Europe's plains, 

France, Spain, and fruitful Italy he drains, 
From every realm and every language gains : 
His gains a conquest are, and not a theft ; 
He wishes still new worlds of wit were left. 

166 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

I ftivy not great Dryden's loftier strain 
Of arms and men, designed to entertain 
Princes and courts, so I but please the plain. 
Nor would I barter profit for delight, 
Nor would have writ like him: like him to write, 
If there's hereafter, and a last Great Day, 
What fire's enough to purge his stains away ? 
How will he wish each lewd applauded line, 
Which makes vice pleasing, and damnation shine, 
Had been as dull as honest Quarles', or mine !* 
With sixty years of lewdness rest content ! 
It may'nt be yet too late, O yet repent ! 
Even thee our injured altar will receive ; 
While yet there's hope, fly to its arms and live ! 
So shall for thee their harps the angels string, 
And the returning prodigal shall sing ; 
New joys through all the heavenly host be shown, 
In numbers only sweeter than thy own." 

In other places of the same poem, speaking of pauses, 
he says, — 

" The little glimpse that Dryden gives, is more 
Than all our careless writers knew before ; 
He finds examples, we the rules must make, 
Though who without a guide may not mistake ? 

1 Though deep, yet clear ; though gentle, yet not dull : 
Strong without rage ; without o'erjlowing t full' 

Dryden's Riddle. 

If we that famous riddle can untie, 

Their brightest beauties in their pauses lie, 

To admiration varied ; next to these 

The numbers, justly ordered, charm and please ; 

Each word, each happy sound, is big with sense ; 

They all deface, who take one letter thence." 

* The six preceding lines are introduced by Samuel Wesley, jun., 
into the elegy on his Father's death, and inserted in the Arminian 
Mag., vol. i., p. 143, as well as in the subsequent pages. — Editor. 


Speaking of Blackmore, — 

Even envy Blackmore's subjects must confess 

Exact and rare, a curious happiness, 

Nor many would the fable better dress ; 

Each page is big with Virgil's manly thought, — 

To follow him too near's a glorious fault. 

He dared be virtuous in the world's despite ; 

While Dryden lives, he dared a modest poem write." * 

Mr. Wesley being asked whether Milton or Waller 
were the best poets, replied, " They are both excellent 
of their kind : Milton is the fullest and loftiest ; Waller 
the neatest and most correct poet we ever had. But yet 
I think Milton wrote too little in verse, and too much 
in prose, to carry the name of best from all others. 
Milton's description of the Pandemonium, the battles of 
the angels, his creation of the world, his digression of 
light, in his Paradise Lost, are all inimitable pieces, and 
even that antique style which he uses seems to become 
the subject, like the strange dresses wherein he repre- 
sents the old heroes. The description of Samson's death, 
the artificial and delicate preparation of the incidents 
and narrations, the turn of the whole, and, more than alL 
the terrible satire on women, in his discourse with Da- 
lilah, are undoubtedly of a piece with his other writings. 
His elegy on his friend that was drowned, and especially 
a fragment of The Passion, are incomparable. However, 
I think him not so general a poet as some we have for- 

* Such a poem as this may be supposed to have suggested Lord 
Byron's " English Bards and Scotch Reviewers ;" at all events, 
his lordship had the example before him in the poetical epistle of 
the rector of Epworth, as well as the work of others ; and if the 
noble bard had been guided by a sense of justice, rather than by 
the spirit of revenge, his poem, like that of his predecessor, would 
have contained more of criticism, and less of invective.— Editor. 



merly^had, and others still surviving." — Athen. Oraele, 
vol. i., p. 476. 

In the year 1704, he published " The History of the 
Old and New Testament, attempted in verse, and adorned 
with three hundred and thirty Sculptures, engraved by 
J. Sturt." 3 vols., 12mo., 1704. 

This is a useful work for young persons, as the rhyme 
may assist the memory, particularly in chronological de- 
tails. Some years ago it was reprinted in Manchester, 
but without the plates. 

Mr. Wesley published three editions of this work ; 
the first in 1701 ; then with the Old Testament in 1704 ; 
and again, in 1717- The last edition is thus spoken of 
in the " Literary Anecdotes," vol. ix., p. 603. " I 
happen to possess The History of the New Testament ; 
attempted in verse, and adorned with 152 sculptures, by 
Samuel "Wesley, M. A., &c. The third edition. Printed 
by E. B., for Thomas Ward, 1717- It forms one volume 
12mo., and is addressed, sans date, to the Marchioness of 
Normandy, in a prosaic but flattering dedication, in 
which the author mourns over the loss of his most gene- 
rous patroness, ' our late Queen, of blessed memory,' but 
rejoices that the marchioness survives. It seems a work 
perfect in itself, and discovers no traces of the Old Tes- 
tament. It is, as all such works must be, mere pap, or 
milk and water, and could not expect ' the estimation of 
the learned ;' yet, to give it its due, the engravings are 
pretty enough, much better than such things generally 
are, and by no means so execrable as Mr. Badcock repre- 
sents those in the Dissertation on Job." — J. Brorvn. In 
the preface to the reader, he says, " I have but little to 
say concerning this small present which I here make 
thee. Tis some account of the intervals of my time, 
which I wish had never been worse employed. There 


are some passages here represented, which are so barren 
of circumstances that it was not easy to make them shine 
in verse ; though they could not be well omitted without 
breaking the thread of the history. As for these, I 
hope that old excuse will be allowed me, Ornari res ipsa 
negat, &c. But there are others where I have more 
liberty, wherein it is my own fault if I have not suc- 
ceeded better. On the whole, if aught that's here may 
be useful to any good Christian, and tend to promote 
piety, I shall be better pleased than if I could have com- 
posed a book on any other subject, worthy to be dedi- 
cated in the Vatican ; for I hope I am got on the right 
side of the world, and am as indifferent to it, as it can 
be to me." 

Mr. Brown speaks well of the engravings as executed 
by Start, of whom some account is given in the Gentle- 
man's Magazine for February, 1824. John Sturt was 
horn April 6, 1668. He engraved the Lord's Prayer in 
the compass of a silver penny. But his best work was 
his Common Prayer-Book, published by subscription in 
1717 : it is a large 8vo., engraven very neatly on 188 
silver plates, in two columns. Prefixed is a bust of 
George the First. The lines on the king's face are ex- 
pressed by letters, and contain the Lord's Prayer, Com- 
mandments, Creed, Prayer for the Royal Family, and the 
21st Psalm ; but so small as not to be legible without a 
magnifying glass. "Perhaps," says Mr. Dibdin, "the 
sacred parts of our Liturgy were never so unpicturesquely 
introduced. He engraved an elegy on queen Mary in 
so small a size that it might be set in a ring or locket. 
This last wonderful feat, which was announced in the 
Gazette, was performed in 1694. Sturt, grown old and 
poor, was offered a place in the Charterhouse, which he 
refused, and died about the age of seventy-two. 

170 of mb. wesley's ancestors. 

In 4703, his letter, already mentioned, concerning the 
education of the Dissenters in their private academies, 
was printed ; but without his consent or knowledge, 
many years after it had been written, to oblige a parti- 
cular friend. This friend was Mr. Robert Clavel, the 
bookseller of St. Paul's Church Yard, a person of great 
respectability. Dr. Barlow, bishop of Lincoln, used to 
call him " the honest bookseller." He had an extensive 
trade, and prior to this time had been master of the 
Company of Stationers. (See Life and Errors, p. 207- ) 
The title is as follows : "A Letter from a Country Divine 
to his Friend in London, concerning the Education of the 
Dissenters in their private Academies, in several Parts of 
this Nation. Humbly offered to the Consideration of the 
Grand Committee of Parliament now sitting. London : 
printed for R. Clavel, at the Peacock in St. Paul's 
Church Yard, 1703." A very small 4to., containing only 
15 pages. 

Mr. Wesley, as has been more than once intimated, 
never intended this letter for the public eye. His own 
words are : — " What I wrote was only a private letter to 
a particular friend, which I had not the least thoughts of 
his making public, but when I saw it first in print, was 
as much surprised as the dissenters themselves could be; 
for I easily foresaw most of the consequences of it. And 
I think what I did was very little more than was done 
by Mr. Bonnel, who entered a much severer character 
of his fellow-academics in his private writings, which 
afterwards became sufficiently public ; and this answers 
all his topics of railing, though he and his party should 
continue to brand me with ingratitude to the end of the 
world." — Reply, p. 153. 

A short analysis of this letter may be necessary, as it 
was the, foundation of a long and painful controversy, 


which produced little profit or honour to the contending 
parties. Some of the ground will necessarily be touched, 
which has already been partially trod ; but sameness 
shall be avoided as much as possible. 

In behalf of Mr. Wesley, it may be well argued, that 
as he never designed the letter should be published, so 
he intended the dissenters as a body no kind of harm, 
and the gentleman who published it betrayed the con- 
fidence of his friend, and evidently designed to call the 
attention of government, in the most sinister way, to the 
case of the dissenters, and subject them to a state per- 
secution. In this letter, Mr. W. apologizes for writing 
against a body among whom he was educated, to whom 
his ancestors belonged, and from whom he had re- 
ceived many personal favours ; declares that he had no 
personal enmity against the people whose party he had 
left ; that he honoured some of them, pitied others, and 
hated none, p. 3 ; purposes to relate whatever was most 
material in the methods used by the dissenters to propa- 
gate a ministry in opposition to the established church ; 
what kind of schools and colleges they had established, 
to supersede the necessity of going to our universities ; 
how these were maintained ; what sort of principles 
were there taught, and what sort of arguments were used 
to confirm their pupils in their dissent, and to prevent 
any from going over to the communion of the church, 
p. 4» He next introduces a sketch of his early history 
thus : " Being born of dissenting parents, my father 
dying early, while I was at a country school, and almost 
fit for the university, I was taken notice of by that party, 
and without my mother's application or charges, sent by 
their direction to London, in order to be entered at one 
of their private academies, and so for their ministry. 
Dr. G., who then lived somewhere near town, and had 
i 2 

172 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

the care of one of the most considerable of those semi- 
naries, had promised me my tuition, in expectation of 
which I came to London, on the 8th of March, 1678; 
but on my arrival found him newly deceased, on which 
I was continued some time longer at a grammar-school, 
from whence my master would have had me gone to the 
university, having there provided a handsome subsistence 
for me : but the fore-mentioned party offering my rela- 
tions greater advantages, I was disposed of by them at 
one Mr. V. ^VeaQ of Stepney, who there kept a private 
academy, having the sum of £30 per annum settled upon 
me by way of an exhibition, which was raised, with 
much more, by collections and subscriptions at a certain 
dissenting congregation. There I remained for the space 
of about two years, in which time my tutor read to me 
a course of Logic and Ethics ; but being prosecuted by 
the neighbouring justices, he broke up his house, and 
quitted that employ ; not long before which I had £10 
per annum more allowed me, which whence gathered I 
know not ; but was disposed of by Dr. 0. QOwen] 
whom I waited upon a little after with my thanks for 
that favour, and was received very civilly by him, en- 
couraged in the prosecution of my studies, and advised 
to have a particular regard to critical learning, p. 5. 

"When this tutor £Mr. Veal] left off, I was recom- 
mended to another, one Mr. M. [[Morton] of Newington 
Green, formerly fellow of Wadham College in Oxford, 
I think ; for he was a great acquaintance of Bishop W. 
QWilkins]; an ingenious and universally learned man, 
but his chiefest excellency lay in mathematics. There 
I continued two years more, with my former exhibitions ; 
and my age increasing, I began now to make some more 
observations of things than while with my first tutor ; 
and the more I saw into what was about me, the more, 


I confess, I disliked it, and began to doubt whether I 
was in the right," p. 6. 

Mr. Wesley's character of his tutor should not be 
passed by : — " For my tutor himself, I must and ever 
will do him that justice to assert, that whenever the 
young men had any discourse of the government, and 
talked disaffectedly or disloyally, he never failed to re- 
buke and admonish them to the contrary; telling us 
expressly, more than once, that it was none of our busi- 
ness to censure such as God had set over us ; that small 
miscarriages ought not to be magnified, nor severely re- 
flected on, there never having been a government so 
exact or perfect, but had some of those Nsevi in it. And 
further, he cautioned us against lampoons or scandalous 
libels against superiors, and that from the immorality, as 
well as danger of being the authors or dispersers of 
them." — Ibid. After having given a list of the different 
dissenting academies in England,* their tutors, and re- 
markable pupils, he returns to Mr. Morton's academy, 
where he had been last, and which he says stood one of 
the longest in England, for which he gives the following 
reason. "We having many gentlemen of estate, who 
paid well, our tutor designing what he thought the glory 
of God, more than his own private profit, proposed no 
more but just to save himself harmless : and if, there- 
fore, he had little for some, he valued it not, so as 'twas 
barely made up by others ; whence we had new minis- 
ters sent out, and ordained by the Presbyters," p. 9. 

In the next page we learn something of the usage 

* He estimates the numbers in these academies scattered 
throughout England, if all united, to equal about half in one of 
our Universities. — Reply, p. 37. 

i 3 

174 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

and fate of this excellent man, Mr. Morton : "But though 
we had long weathered it out, the shocks at length came 
so fiercely, our tutor could not stand it: he had once 
before been excommunicated, and a eapias issued out 
against him, on which he was taken, but while in cus- 
tody of an officer, before he was actually committed to 
prison, the officer, in whose house he lay, accidentally 
died during his stay there ; on which, there being none 
to detain him, he returned home again, attributing the 
thing, as is usual with that sort of people, to a particular 
providence : he was now in danger of a second capias, 
on which he used the mediation of my Lady E. to get 
some respite, and sent her sister several times to London 
House, on the same errand. My Lord of L., as we were 
told, promised him all reasonable favour if he would 
leave that place and employment, which he could not 
suffer him in, so much to the detriment and prejudice of 
the established church, and affront to the laws and uni- 
versities ■; on which he absconded some time at a friend's, 
absenting himself from us, and leaving the senior pupils 
to instruct the junior." What execrable times were 
these, when the good, the pious, the learned, and the 
peaceable had no protection for person or property, if 
they differed at all from the time-serving principles of 
those in power ! On all sides, it was an age of bigotry, 
superstition, and political oppression; and if the dis- 
senters were to blame, the church was not to be praised. 
Mr. Wesley's observation on the unexpected death of 
the officer who had taken the good Mr. Morton, does 
small credit to his religion as a Christian, or his feelings 
as a man : " attributing the thing, as is usual with that 
sort of people, to a particular providence !" To what else 
could it be attributed ? The man himself is blameless, 
according to Mr. W.'s own account, a pattern of all ex- 


cellence, a thorough friend to the government, and incul- 
cating on all his pupils the most conscientious respect 
and obedience to the laws and to all that were in 
authority over them. This persecuted man, about a year 
after this, emigrated to New England, and became vice- 
president of Haward College. He died 1697, aged 70. 
Had the church and the state continued such as they 
were then, the nation had never risen to that state of 
moral and political excellence in which it is now found. 
The dissenters also have preserved their proportion in 
the scale of amelioration. 

Mr. Wesley gives next a circumstantial account of the 
manner in which he acquired the conviction that it was 
his duty to leave the dissenting communion, and unite 
himself to the established church, and to enter the uni- 
versity, adding, "though I know not how to get thither, 
or live there when I come." He was offered employ- 
ment among the dissenters, either in a gentleman's house, 
or chaplain to an East India ship; but having thoroughly 
made up his mind, " I went," says he, " in the name of 

God, and entered there the of August, in the year 

1683, a servitor of E. [~Exeter] College. Here I tarried, 
though I met with some hardships I had before been 
unacquainted with, till I was of standing sufficient, and 
then took my Bachelor's degree ; and not being able to 
subsist there afterwards, came to London during the time 
of my Lord Bishop of London's suspension by the high 
commission, and was initiated into deacon's orders by 
my Lord Bishop of R. [^Rochester] at his palace at B. 
[Bromley], August 7th, 1688; and on the 24th of 
February following, in St. Andrew's Church, Holborn, 
was ordained by the Lord Bishop of L. a priest of the 
church of England, in whose communion, as I have 
lived now comfortably and happily these six years past, 

176 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

so I hdpe to continue in it all my life, and by the grace 
of God to die in the same," p. 13. 

Thus ends this letter, after which a page and eight 
lines of Appendix are added, giving some account of the 
exceptionable books which were read by some young 
gentlemen in the dissenters' academies. This should be 
understood as applying only to the academy of Mr. 
Morton, for he states distinctly, in the reply to Palmer, 
p. 137, that he saw no improper books at Mr. Veal's 

This letter gave the dissenters great offence ; and well 
it might, for it was incautiously written;, but it was 
soon answered anonymously in a pamphlet, entitled, "A 
Defence of the Dissenters' Education." Mr. Wesley, 
having entered on the controversy, was now urged by 
his diocesan to proceed, who, he says, " both spoke to 
me, and sent to me, to write my defence, and reviewed 
part of it before it was printed ;" accordingly, to defend 
his original letter, Mr. Wesley published a pamphlet, 
entitled, " A Defence of a Letter concerning the Edu- 
cation of Dissenters in their private Academies; with 
a more satisfactory account of the same, and of their 
Morals and Behaviour towards the Church of England : 
being an Answer to the Defence of the Dissenters' Edu- 
cation. By Samuel Wesley ;" with this remarkable 
motto : — 

Noli irritare crabrones ! 

" The Kirk's a vixen ; don't anger her." 

London, 4to, 1704, pp. 64; besides eight of title, 
preface, and contents. 

This publication, which I have several times had occa- 
sion to quote, only served to widen the breach; for 
Mr. Palmer, who appears to have Ijeen the anonymous 


author of the "Defence of the Dissenters' Education," 
soon published what he termed " A Vindication of the 
Learning, Loyalty, Morals, and most Christian Behaviour 
of the Dissenters towards the Church of England." A 
man of Mr. Wesley's disposition was not likely to sit 
quiet under the severe reflections cast on him by Mr. 
Palmer in the above pamphlet, especially when his 
diocesan* still urged him on, and offered, says he, "to 
assist me with some materials for the doing it." Where- 
fore he immediately meditated an answer ; hut this was 
delayed for some time. The rage of party took advan- 
tage of his narrow circumstances, and he was suddenly 
thrown into Lincoln castle for a paltry debt. This was 
petty malice ; and he amply retorted on his persecutors 
in a pamphlet, entitled, "A Reply to Mr. Palmer's Vin- 
dication of the Learning, Loyalty, Morals, and most 
Christian Behaviour of the Dissenters towards the 
Church of England. By Samuel Wesley." London, 
1707, 4to., about 155 pages; besides sixteen of title, 
preface, and contents; with a motto taken from John 
Fox, and one from De Foe ; the latter I shall tran- 
scribe : — 

" How long must we see the reproaches of our Estab- 
lishment, and the insult of the laws, and be bound to 
silence, and to say nothing for peace sake ? How long 
must their false prophets and dreamers of dreams abuse 
us, and we be obliged to hold our peace ?" De Foe's 
Review, vol. iii., No. XLIII. 

This work appears to have been partly written in 
Lincoln castle, as the following words in the preface 
seem to imply : "I am to ask his (Mr. Palmer's) pardon 
for the delay of my answer, which I hope he will the 
more easily grant, because he is not ignorant of the 
* Reply to Palmer, p. 154. 

178 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

occasion. I hare often thought of his kind admonition 
in his first book, p. 20, ' of what I was likely to lose by 
the dissenters' resentment of my letter,' &c. Some 
people have an untoward faculty of keeping their words 
with the utmost exactness, whenever they make a left- 
hand promise ; and there are some sort of debts they'll 
never compound for, but be sure to pay them to the 
uttermost farthing. 

" I shan't trouble him (the reader) with any melan- 
choly stories of the treatment I have lately met with, 
but shall refer it to a higher tribunal than that of any 
earthly judicature." And in the beginning of the ninth 
ohapter of the work, p. 144, he says, "lam now come 
to Mr. Palmer's last chapter, which I wish I had been 
at long before ; for I must confess I don't much admire 
this work which I am forced to in my own just defence; 
and think, if I were at liberty, I could employ myself 
something better." And in p. 68 : " Welcome a gaol 
once more, rather than take their dirty road to prefer- 
ment." Mr. Palmer did not reply. 

I have been thus particular, because Dunton frequently 
adverts to this controversy, and intimates that it was un- 
dertaken by Mr. "Wesley " in hopes of a bishopric." In 
giving the character of the ministers who conformed, he 
remarks, " I shall add my old friend Mr. Samuel Wesley, 
who was educated upon charity in a private academy, if 
we may take his own word for it in his late pamphlet, 
which was designedly written to expose and overthrow 
those academies. One would have thought that either 
gratitude, or his own reputation in the world, and among 
his relations, and his best friends, might have kept him 
silent; though when a man is resolved to do himself a 
mischief, who can help it ? But it is certainly so. 
Apostata est osor sui ordinis. Mr. W- has read much, 


and is well skilled in the languages ; he is generous and 
good humoured, and caresses his friend with a great 
deal of passion, so long as his circumstances are any 
thing in order, and then. he drops him; and I challenge 
the rector of Epworth (for he is not yet ' My Lord,' nor 
' His Grace ') to prove I injure him in this character. 
I could be very maggotty with this conforming dissenter, 
hut except he further provokes me, I bid him farewell 
till we meet in heaven ; and there I hope we shall re- 
new our friendship, for, human frailties excepted, I 
believe Sam. Wesley a pious man." 

After these observations we should hardly have 
expected any thing more ; but when he comes to give 
Mr. Palmer's character, he again adverts to it thus: 
"There has a controversy fallen out of late between 
him and the dignified Mr. Samuel Wesley, concern- 
ing the private academies, wherein he has fully vin- 
dicated those nurseries of piety and good learning 
from the scandal and imputation which Mr. Wesley 
endeavoured to throw upon them. Mr. Wesley's first 
piece, addressed to the parliament then sitting, was a 
most unkind satire upon himself; the world had not 
known him unless he had thought fit to make himself 
public. I am afraid Mr. Wesley's vein has almost spent 
itself: the dregs came the last. Whether his last libel 
be worthy of an answer, Mr. Palmer is the best judge, 
and that province belongs to him. However, it plainly 
appears that Mr. Wesley's taxing their morals and 
behaviour, &c, was a malicious falsehood, published on 
purpose to curry favour with the high-flyers, and to en- 
large his preferment." 

I should remark that by the "last libel," Dunton 
alludes to Mr. Wesley's second tract, " A Defence," 
which came out the year preceding " his Life and 

180 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

Errors, in which even the very printer comes under his 
lash, who, he says, " has no spot on his character except 
it be printing that infamous pamphlet." 

In a poem, entitled, "The Dissenting Doctors," re- 
ferring to Palmer, and to this controversy he writes, 

Were Wesley but impartial, he would own 
His learned " Answer " lash'd him to the bone. 
A better " Vindication " none could write, 
Nor any satire show us half that wit. 
Strict sense appears in the most careless line, 
And in the most exact the graces shine." 

Life and Errors, p. 163-4, 380, 724. 2nd. ed. 

As the matter of Mr. "Wesley's imprisonment has been 
misunderstood, if not misrepresented, I shall soon lay 
the whole account before the reader. 

Whether this controversy were carried on any farther 
I know not ; I give below the titles of all the pieces I 
have seen on the subject;* and as far as I have gone 

* The pamphlets, written pro and con, on this controversy, were 
the following : — 

1. A Letter from a Country Divine to his Friend in London, con- 
cerning the Education of the Dissenters in their Private Academies 
in several parts of this nation. Humbly offered to the consideration 
of the Grand Committee of Parliament for Religion, now sitting. 
London, 1703, 4to., pp. 15. The country divine was Mr. S. 

2. A Defence of the Dissenters' Education in their Private 

Academies, in an Answer to Mr. W y's disingenuous and 

unskilful Reflections upon 'em; in a Letter to a Noble Lord. 
London, 1703, sm. 4to., pp. 24. This was by Mr. Palmer. 

3. A Defence of a Letter concerning the Education of Dis- 
senters in their Private Academies, with a more full and satisfactory 
account of the same, and of their morals, and behaviour towards 
the Church of England ; being an Answer to the Defence of the 


with the controversy, I must own I have received no edi- 
fication from it. Mr. "Wesley most certainly uses great 
dexterity in fencing with and foiling his adversary. But 

Dissenters' Education. By Samuel Wesley. London, 1704, 4to., 
pp. 54. 

4. A Vindication of the Learning, Loyalty, Morals, and most 
Christian Behaviour of the Dissenters towards the Church of 
England ; in answer to Mr. Wesley's Defence of his Letter con- 
cerning the Dissenters' Education in their Private Academies. 
And to Mr. Sacheverel's injurious Reflections upon them. London, 
>705, 4to., pp. 115. 

5. A Reply to Mr. Palmer's Vindication of the Learning, 
Loyalty, Morals, and most Christian Behaviour of the Dissenters 
;owards the Church of England. By Samuel Wesley. London, 
1707, 4to., pp. 155. 

6. Presbyterian Loyalty, in two Letters, one directed to Mr. 
Palmer, author of the Vindication of the Loyalty, &c. of the 
Dissenters ; the other to a Tacking Member of Parliament, giving 
some account of the History of Dissenters' Loyalty, &c. Part I. 
in answer to Mr. Palmer's Vth chapter of his Vindication of the 
Dissenters' Behaviour towards authority ; in which there is some 
account of the Presbyterian plot of making James, Duke of 
Monmouth, king of England, By a friend of the Tackers. 
London, 1705, 4to., pp. 24. (Signed Phikrene.) 

7. Presbyterian Loyalty, in two Letters ; one directed to Mode- 
rate Churchmen ; to which is annexed, the Ballad of the Cloak, 
or the Cloak's Knavery. The other to a Tacking Member of the 
late House of Commons, giving an account of the History of 
Dissenters' Loyalty to the Martyrdom of King Charles the First. 
Part II. in answer to Mr. Palmer's Vth Chapter of his Vindica- 
tion of the Dissenters' Behaviour towards authority. With an 
Elegy on King Charles the First, reprinted. By a friend of the 
Tackers. London, 1705, 4to., pp. 32. (Signed Philalethes.) 

One of the most singular circumstances in this Paper was, that 
Mr. Samuel Palmer, the warm defender of the dissenters, aotually 
abandoned them, and conformed to the Church of England ! 
Perhaps won over by his antagonist's arguments. 

182 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

on both sides party spirit has a superabundant prevalence. 

Mr. Wesley was ill used by several of that party, and 
he appears too often to attribute the unchristian and 
and cruel treatment he received from them to the whole 
body, and to intimate that dissenting principles must 
necessarily produce such wicked effects. 

Mr. W. was an unqualified admirer of Charles the 
First, considered him in the fullest sense a martyr, and 
was often intolerant to those who differed from him in 
this opinion. He exposed the dissenters; and did it 
the more effectually, because, being bred up among them, 
he knew their order, discipline, political opinions, &c. 
But he always gets too much into generals from par- 
ticulars, and charges the body with the vices of the few. 

Their mode of defence was not calculated to soften 
his asperity, nor correct his misapprehension ; and they 
disgracefully stooped to personal injuries that they might 
avenge themselves on one whom they considered a de- 
tractor of the brethren, and an apostate from the true 

The same subjects canvassed then would scarcely 
admit of discussion now. A spirit of liberality and 
tolerance now exists, and is happily cultivated, which in 
great part of the seventeenth century was little known. 
Through the mercy of God the nation has now more light 
and more religion ; though there are still individuals 
to be found, on both sides, who, had they the power, 
would stir up old feuds, and banish sweet repose from 
the hearts and houses of the pious, the peaceable, and 
the loyal. Neither the name nor peculiar creed of 
churchman nor dissenter is essential to salvation. He 
alone deserves the title of Christian who wishes well to 
the human race, and labours to promote, according to his 
power and influence, the best interests of mankind. No 


man professing godliness should forget to imitate him 
" who maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, 
and sendeth his rain on the just and on the unjust." 
Mr. Wesley did not keep this constantly in mind, and 
of this he himself seems to be conscious from an obser- 
vation at the close of this controversy (see reply, p. 144) : 
" If," says he, " in the heat of controversy, I should 
unadvisedly have used any expressions, in this or any 
other of my writings, that either may reflect too severely 
on a whole body of men among whom I doubt not but 
there are many who fear God, and have a zeal for him, 
though I think it is not according to knowledge, or which 
have not been agreeable to the spirit of Christianity, and 
the example of my great Master; I do heartily, very 
heartily, ask pardon, both of God and them, as I desire 
the same for my greatest enemies. And having written 
this, and again and again reviewed and weighed it, I am 
not much concerned for the consequence of it as to this 
world, but shall conclude as our church does one part of 
our litany, ' In all time, of our tribulation, in all time of 
our wealth, in the hour of death, and in the day of 
judgment, — good Lord, deliver us.' 

To pursue the literary life of Mr. Wesley any farther 
at present would take us too far out of the direct line of 
his domestic relations. 

While Mr. S. Wesley attended his curacy in London, 
about 1690 or 1691, for the date is not exactly known, 
he contracted an acquaintance, which terminated in mar- 
riage, with Miss Susanna Annesley, youngest daughter of 
Samuel Annesley, LL. D., an eminent nonconformist 
divine, nobly related ; for he and Arthur Annesley, Earl 
of Anglesey and Lord Privy Seal to Charles the Second, 
were brothers' children. The excellence of Miss Annes- 
ley's mind was equal to the eminence of her birth ; but 

184 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

her history is too important to be included even in that 

of her husband, and requires a separate place. She was 
such a helpmate as Mr. Wesley required ; and to her, 
under God, the great eminence of the subsequent Wesley 
family is to be attributed. They had nineteen children, 
of whom only their eldest son Samuel appears to have 
been born previously to their removal to South Ormsby 
in Lincolnshire, which was about the year 1690. 

The Rev. William Azlach was Mr. Wesley's pre- 
decessor at South Ormsby. According to the register of 
that church, Mr. Azlach was buried on Jan. 19th, 1690. 
That Mr. W. succeeded him, appears from an entry in 
Mr. W.'s hand- writing, dated Aug. 26th of this year; 
and we shall see that his daughter Susannah, first of that 
name, was baptized in South Ormsby church, on March 
31st, 1691. 

He continued in this rectory till about the end of 
1696 ; for the Rev. Thomas Raven, rector, succeeded 
him in 1697. 

South Ormsby is a small but neat village, about nine 
miles from Horncastle, eight from Louth, and six from 

An intelligent friend who visited the place, and in- 
spected the church and register for me, thus describes 
it : " It has the pleasant aspect common to most vil- 
lages which skirt the park surrounding a gentleman's 
seat. The church is ancient, and is situated on a small 
eminence with trees about it, and overlooks the rectory- 
house, which is built on lower ground adjoining the 
church-yard. They are close to the border of the park, 
and not far from the hall. The whole scene, from a turn 
in the public road, a short distance from the house, is 
pleasingly picturesque, even to the person who cares 
nothing for the name of Wesley." — A. G. Jewitt. 


In Mr. Wesley's time, however, his own situation at 
the parsonage seems by no means enviable, as far as he 
describes it in his poem : 

" In a mean cot, composed of reeds and clay, 
Wasting in sighs the uncomfortable day : 
Near where the inhospitable Humber roars, 
Devouring by degrees the neighbouring shores." 

Yet, amid all the changes to which he was subject, he 
exclaims, — 

" Let earth go where it will, I'll not repine, 
Nor can unhappy be, while Heaven is mine."* 

Mr. Wesley began the world under many disad- 
vantages : he had himself no property ; and Dr. An- 
nesley's family was probably much reduced, so that he 
could give little with any of his daughters. Elizabeth 
had married John Dunton, so often already mentioned. 
His eccentricities were such as to bring him into frequent 
embarrassments. What help his father-in-law's family 
could afford him, I suppose he had ; and besides this, he 
had borrowed considerably from Mr. Wesley, so that when 
he was thrown into prison for debt by others, Mr. Wesley, 
he acknowledges, was his chief creditor ; which debt he 
never repaid. And although Dunton was, at Mr. Wes- 
ley's first setting out in the world, one of his principal 
friends, yet through his generosity in return, he suffered 
much in his circumstances.t 

* Life of Christ, p. 20, line 750, &c. 

t One thing is to be perceived in Mr. W esley's spirit, in the 
midst of his exercises, and that is — he never forgot his God. His 
" Prayer for one in affliction and want," will show the character of 
his addresses to God. 

" God ! who art infinite in power, and compassion, and good- 
ness, and truth ; who hast promised in thy Holy Word that thou 



From the year 1691 to 1700 he met with various mis- 
fortunes and trials. He had, it is true, expectations of 
preferment ; and had Queen Mary lived, he would cer- 

wilt hear the prayer of the poor and destitute, and wilt not despise 
his desire ; look down, I beseech thee, from heaven, the habitation 
of thy holiness and glory, upon me, a miserable sinner, now lying 
under thy hand in great affliction and sorrow, who fly to thee alone 
for help and comfort. I am weary of my groaning, — my heart faileth 
me, — the light of my eyes is gone from me, — I sink in the deep 
waters, — and there is none to help me ; yet I wait still upon thee, 
my God. Though all the world forsake me, let the Lord still uphold 
me, and in him let me always find the truest, the kindest, the most 
compassionate, unwearied, almighty friendship ; to him let me ease 
my wearied soul, and unbosom all my sorrows ! 

" Help me, O Lord, against hope to believe in hope. Grant 
that I may not be moved with all the slights and censures of a mis- 
taken world. Let me look by faith beyond this vale of tears and 
misery, to that happy place which knows no pain, or want, or sor- 
rows, as being assured that there is an end, and my expectation 
shall not be cut off. I know, Lord ! that a man's life consists 
not in the abundance of things that he possesses, but that he who 
has the most here, as he brought nothing with him into this world, 
so he shall carry nothing out. I bless thee that thou hast not given 
me my portion among those who have received all their consolation 
here, whose portion is in this life only. Neither let me expect 
those blessings which thou hast promised to the poor, unless I am 
really poor in spirit, and meek and humble. I know nothing is 
impossible with God, and that it is thou alone who givest power to 
get riches, and that thou canst, by thy good providence, raise me 
from this mean condition whenever thou pleasest, and wilt certainly 
do it if it be best for me, and therefore submit all unto thy wise and 
kind disposal. I desire not wealth, or greatness : give me neither 
extreme poverty, nor do I ask riches of thee, but only to be fed 
with food convenient for me. I desire earnestly to seek first the 
kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof, well hoping that in thy 
good time, food, raiment, and all other things that be needful, shall 
be added unto me. I believe, O Lord, that thou who feedest the 
ravens, and clothest the lilies, wilt not neglect me (and mine) ; that 


tainly have risen in the church, as it appears she had 
firmly purposed. 

For a time he had the friendship of the Marquis of 
Nonnanby, afterwards Duke of Buckingham, who made 
him his chaplain, and is said to have recommended him 
for an Irish bishopric. The Duke of Marlborough was 
also his friend ; and for his poem on " The Fate of 
Europe," gave him the chaplaincy of Colonel Lepell's 
regiment : but the dissenters, his inflexible enemies, had 

thou wilt make good thy own unfailing promises, wilt give meat 
to them that fear thee, and be ever mindful of thy covenant. In 
the meantime, let me not be querulous, or impatient, or envious at 
the prosperity of the wicked, or judge uncharitably of those to 
whom thou hast given a larger portion of the good things of this 
life, or be cruel to those who are in the same circumstances with 
myself. Let me never sink or despond under my heavy pressures 
and continued misfortunes. Though I fall, let me rise again, 
because the Lord taketh me up. Let my heart never be sunk so 
low that I should be afraid to own the cause of despised virtue. 
Give diligence, and prudence, and industry, and let me neglect 
nothing that lies in me to provide honestly for my own house, lest 
I be worse than an infidel. Help me carefully to examine my life 
past ; and if, by my own carelessness or imprudence, 1 have reduced 
myself into this low condition, let me be more deeply afflicted for 
it ; but yet still hope in thy goodness, avoiding those failures 
whereof I have been formerly guilty. Or if for my sins thou hast 
brought this upon me, my unthankfulness for thy mercies, or abuse 
of them, help me now with submission and patience to bear the 
punishment of my iniquity. Or if by thy wise providence thou art 
pleased thus to afflict me for trial, and for the example of others ; 
thy will, my God, not mine, be done ! Help me, and any who 
are in the same circumstances, in patience to possess our souls, and 
let all thy fatherly chastisements advance us still nearer toward 
Christian perfection. Teach us the emptiness of all things here 
below, wean us more and more from a vain world, fix our hearts 
more upon heaven, and help us forward in the right waj that leads 
to everlasting life," &c. — Editor. 

188 of mr. Wesley's ancestoes. 


interest enough at court, and with the leading men of 
the nation, to prevent his preferment, and deprive him ot 
the chaplaincies which he had honestly obtained. 

In the midst of all his troubles he had an invariable 
friend in the justly celebrated Dr. John Sharp, Arch- 
bishop of York,* and grandfather to the late Granville 
Sharp, Esq., the first man whose call awakened the 
drowsy and guilty British nation to the wrongs of 

The archbishop acted to Mr. Wesley the part of a 
most tender father and beneficent patron. The latter 
frequently poured his complaints into his bosom; and 
they were received with tenderness and affectionate com- 
miseration : and the bounty of the Archbishop of York 
was frequently poured on the necessities of the distressed 
Rector of Epworth. Of these benefits Mr. Wesley had 
a due and deep sense; and his manly gratitude kept 
pace with his obligations, t 

* Dunton states (Life, p. 361), that " King William, having heard 
how useful Dr. Sharp was as minister of St. Giles, bestowed on 
him the archbishopric of York." — Editor. 

t Mr. Wesley was not the only person who enjoyed his lordship's 
bounty. — The following anecdote, published by P. Hoare in his 
life of Dr. Sharpe, is highly interesting. 

It was his lordship's custom to have a saddle-horse attend his 
carriage, that in case of fatigue from sitting he might take the re- 
freshment of a ride. As he was thus going to his episcopal resi- 
dence, and was got a mile or two before the carriage, a decent 
looking young man came up to him, and, with a trembling hand and 
faultering tongue, presented a pistol to his lordship's breast, de- 
manding his money. The archbishop, with composure, turned 
about, and looking steadfastly at him, desired he would remove 
that dangerous weapon, and tell him fairly his condition. " Sir, 
Sir ! " with great agitation, cried the youth, " No words — 'tis not 
a time — your money instantly." " Hear me, young man," said the 


By the kindness of Miss Sharp, the only surviving 
branch of this ancient and very eminent family, I have 
been put in possession of Letters written by Mr. Wesley 

archbishop, " and come on with me. You see I am a very old man ( 
and my life is of very little consequence ; yours seems far other- 
wise. I am named Sharp, and am Archbishop of York ; my car- 
riage and servants are behind ; tell me what money you want, and 
who you are ; and I'll not injure you, but prove a friend. Here, 

take this ; and now tell me how much you want to make you 

independent of so destructive a business as you are now engaged in.'' 
" Sir," replied the man, " I detest the business as much as you. 
I am — but — but — at home, there are creditors who will not stay ; 
fifty pounds, my lord, indeed would do what no tongue besides my 
own can tell." " Well, Sir, I take it on your word ; and, upon my 

honour, if you will in a day or two call on me at , what I have 

now given shall be made up that sum." 

The highwayman looked at him, was silent, and went off ; and 
at the time appointed actually waited on the archbishop, and as- 
sured his lordship his words had left impressions on his mind 
which nothing could ever efface. 

Nothing transpired of him for a year and a-half, or more ; when, 
one morning, a person knocked at his Grace's gate, and with a 
peculiar earnestness desired to see him. The bishop ordered the 
stranger to be brought in ; he entered the room where his lordship 
was, but had scarce advanced a few steps before his countenance 
changed, his knees tottered, and he sank, almost breathless, on the 
floor ; recovering, he requested his lordship for an audience in pri- 
vate. The apartment being cleared, " My lord," said he, " you 
cannot have forgotten the circumstances at such a time and place ; 
gratitude will never suffer them to be obliterated from my mind. 
In me, my lord, you now behold that once most wretched of man- 
kind ; but now, by your inexpressible humanity, rendered equal, 
perhaps superior, in happiness to millions. my lord — (tears 
for a while prevented his utterance) — 'tis you, 'tis you that have 
saved me, body and soul ; 'tis you that have saved a dear and 
much-loved wife, and a little brood of children, whom I tendered 
dearer than my life. Here is that fifty pounds ; but never shall I 

]90 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

to the archbishop, from the year 1700 to 1707, which 
filled up a considerable gap in his history, and afford s 
number of curious particulars, which have never been 
before the public. These come in properly in this place : 
and from the first we shall see the difficulties with which 
this good man had to struggle, and the cause of his con- 
sequent embarrassments. 

" For the most Rev. Father in God, the Lord Arch- 
bishop of York, at Bishop Thorp. 
"My Lord, 

" I have lived on the thoughts of your Grace's generous 
offer ever since I was at Bishop Thorp ; and the hope ] 
have of seeing some end, or at least mitigation, of mj 
trouble, makes me pass through them with much mort 
ease than I should otherwise have done. I can now 
make a shift to be dunned with some patience ; and tc 
be affronted, because I want the virtue of riches, bj 
those who scarce think there is any other virtue. 

" I must own I was ashamed, when at Bishop Thorp, 
to confess that I was three hundred pounds in debt, 
when I have a living of which I have made two hun- 
dred pounds per annum, though I could hardly let it 
now for eightscore. 

find^ language to testify what I feel. Your God is your witness ; 
your deed itself is your glory : and may heaven, and all its bless- 
sings, be your present and everlasting reward ! I was the younget 
son of a wealthy man ; your lordship knows him, I am sure. Hia 
name was . My marriage alienated his affection, and my bro- 
ther withdrew his love, and left me to sorrow and penury. A month 
since my brother died a bachelor, and intestate. What was his is 
become mine ; and, by your astonishing goodness, I am now at 
once the most penitent, the most grateful, and happiest of my 
species." See also, Ar. Mag., Vol. VIII., p. 159. 


" I doubt not but one reason of my being sunk so far 
is, my not understanding worldly affairs ; and my aver- 
sion to law, which my people have always known but 
too well. But I think I can give a tolerable account of 
my affairs, and satisfy any equal judge that a better 
husband than myself might have been in debt, though, 
perhaps, not so deeply, had he been in the same circum- 
stances, and met with the same misfortunes. 

" 'Twill be no great wonder that when I had but fifty 
pounds per annum for six or seven years together, no- 
thing to begin the world with", one child at least per 
annum, and my wife sick for half that time, that I 
should run one hundred and fifty pounds behind hand ; 
especially when about a hundred of it had been ex- 
pended in goods, without doors and within. 

" When I had the rectory of Epworth given me, my 
Lord of Sarum was so generous as to pass his word to 
his goldsmith* for one hundred pounds, which I bor- 
rowed of him. It cost me very little less than fifty 
pounds of this in my journey to London, and getting 
into my living, for the Broad Seal, &c; and with the 
other fifty pounds, I stopped the mouths of my most im- 
portunate creditors. 

'•When I removed to Epworth I was forced to take 
up fifty pounds more, for setting up a little husbandry 
when I took the tithes into my own hand, and buying 
some part of what was necessary towards furnishing my 
house which was larger, as weU as my family, than 
what I had on the other side the county. 

"The next year my bam fell, which cost me forty 

* Such was the denomination of bankers in that day. See Ellis's 

192 op sir. Wesley's ancestors. 

pounds in rebuilding (thanks to your Grace for part of 
it) ; and having an aged mother, who must have gone to 
prison if I had "not assisted her, she cost me upwards of 
forty pounds more, which obliged me to take up another 
fifty pounds. I have had but three children born since 
I came hither, about three years since ; but another 
coming, and my wife incapable of any business in my 
family, as she has been for almost a quarter of a year ; 
yet we have but one maid-servant, to retrench all possi- 
ble expenses. 

" My first-fruits came to about twenty-eight pounds ; 
my tenths near three pounds per annum. I pay a yearly 
pension of three pounds out of my rectory to John of 
Jerusalem. My taxes came to upwards of twenty pounds 
per annum ; but they are now retrenched to about half. 
My collection to the poor comes to five pounds per 
annum ; besides which, they have lately bestowed an 
apprentice upon me, whom, I suppose, I must teach to 
beat rime. Ten pounds a-year I allow my mother, to 
help to keep her from starving. I wish I could give as 
good an account for some charities, which I am now 
satisfied have been imprudent, considering my circum- 

" Fifty pounds interest and principal I have paid my 
Lord of Sarum's goldsmith. All which together keeps 
memecessitous, especially since interest money begins to 
pinch me ; and I am always called on for money before 
I make it, and must buy everything at the worst hand ; 
whereas, could I be so happy as to get on the right side 
of my income, I should not fear, by God's help, but to 
live honestly in the world, and to leave a little to my 
children after me. I think, as 'tis, I could perhaps work 
it out in time, in half-a-dozen or half-a-scorc years, ii 


my heart should hold so long : but for that God's will 
be done ! 

" Humbly asking pardon for this tedious trouble, 
" Your Grace's most obliged 

" and most humble servant, 

"S. Wesley." 
Eprcorth, 10r [Dee.] 30, 1700. 

There are a few things in this letter which require ex- 
planation, and some of them refer to certain curious facts 
in ecclesiastical history. 

1. Among Mr. Wesley's expenses we find getting the 
Broad Seal was one. This was on his being presented 
to the rectory of Epworth ; for as that living belongs to 
the crown, the gift to him required the Broad Seal affixed 
as his title : and the fees, &c. of office were even at that 
time considerable ; but now more so, as in addition to 
them there is a heavy stamp duty. 

2. He mentions removing to Epworth from the other 
side of the county. This was from South Ormsby, 
which is in the wapentake of Ladbrough, in the oppo- 
site side of the county from Epworth, and about eight 
or ten miles from the Humber. This living he appears 
to have received from the Marquis of Normanby, after- 
wards Duke of Buckingham ; and the manner in which 
he lost it we have already seen. 

3. He speaks of his aged mother. This was the relict 
of his father, John Wesley, some time vicar of Whit- 
church, in Dorsetshire j from which he was ejected by 
the cruel Act of Uniformity. Persecuted and driven 
about from place to place during his life, he could make 
no provision for his family; and his widow, who sur- 
vived him many years, was obliged to depend on for- 




tuitous charity ; and, in her latter days especially, on the 
little help, ten pounds per annum, which she received 
from her son Samuel; who, according to the above 
account, was in very straitened circumstances himself. 

It must be" owned that Mr. "Wesley's attachment to the 
church must have been strong indeed, and founded on 
conscientious principles, when he clave to it with all his 
heart, at the risk of all he possessed ; while he had con- 
tinually before his eyes the horrible consequences of those 
cruel laws, and relentless high-church bigotry, that de- 
prived his parents of a morsel of bread, brought his 
father to an untimely grave, and reduced his widowed 
aged mother to a state of the most abject poverty. 

4. He tells the archbishop that his first-fruits came to 
£28, that is, he had to pay £28 in lieu of the first-fruits ; 
which mean the profits of all spiritual promotions for one 
whole year. ' These were at first given to the pope ; but 
were taken from him by the Statute of Coventry, anno 6 
Hen. IV., A. D. 1404, and annexed to the crown anno 
25 Hen. VIII., A. D. 1533, under which act Mr. Wesley 
paid them. But they were given from the crown to the 
poor clergy, anno 2, 3 Anna?, A. D. 1703, about two or 
three years after the time of which Mr. Wesley here 
speaks ; and still continue to be appropriated in the 
same way. 

6. His tenths, he tells us, came to £3 per annum. 
The tenths were a " yearly rent, or pension, amounting 
to the value of a tenth part of all the revenues, rents, 
farms, tithes, offerings, emoluments, and all other profits, 
as well spiritual as temporal, belonging to any arch- 
bishopric, bishopric, parsonage, vicarage, or other bene- 
fice, or promotion spiritual, to be yearly paid for ever to 
the king." These also had been claimed by the pope, 
but were annexed to the crown by the statute anno 26 


Henry VIII., A. D. 1534. But they were, with the 
first-fruits, given by the crown to augment the livings 
of the poor clergy, by the statute anno 2, 3 Annas, 
A. D. 1703. 

6. He also mentions paying a pension of £3 yearly 
out of his rectory to John of Jerusalem. This was the 
priory of St. John of Jerusalem, to which the lands 
formerly belonging to the Knights Templars had been 
given by the statute De Juris Templariorum, made 
anno 17 Edw. II., A. D. 1323, when the above order 
was suppressed in England. The whole order had been 
suppressed by Pope Clement V., in a general council at 
Vienne, A. D. 1312. At the suppression of the monas- 
teries all the possessions of St. John of Jerusalem, in 
England and Ireland, were given to the king, by the 
statute anno 32 Henry VIII., A. D. 1541. What there- 
fore each church, &c. paid to this order was after this 
paid to the king; and as the rectory of Epworth had 
paid to the value of £3 to that house, this was the sum 
which the kings of England continued to receive from 
that rectory. 

7- What he meant by beating rime I could not satis- 
factorily explain in the former edition of this work. I 
am now convinced, from the following verses, in his 
poem concerning poetry, that the word rime was mis- 
spelt (1. 219). 

" But meanly why do you your fate deplore, 
Yet still write on ? Why do a thousand more, 
Who for their own, or some forefather's crime, 
Are doomed to wear their days in beating rhime V 

It is probable, therefore, that he uses the phrase for 
making verses. Of this phraseology I have not met with 
any other example in any author ; but it is evidently a 

196 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

metaphor taken from beating hemp orfiax, thus breaking 

the reedy part, in order to separate the fibres from it. 
.Some there hare been, who were obliged to beat their 
brains for rhyme, as others were to beat hemp, in order to 
separate the silky fibre from the reed. 

The preceding letter had made a strong impression on 
the mind of the archbishop in his favour ; who, willing 
to serve him in every possible way, not only spoke to 
several of the more charitably disposed nobility in his 
behalf, but had actually endeavoured to get a brief for 
him, and had made an application to the House of Lords 
to this effect. The Countess of Northampton, to whom 
the archbishop had mentioned Mr. Wesley's case, had 
generously sent him £20. For these and other favours, 
from and through the archbishop, he expresses himself 
in a very feeling and energetic manner in the following 
letter, which, with that which immediately follows it, I 
cannot ipersuade myself to withhold from the reader: — 

"Eptvorth, May 14, 1701. 
"My Lord, 

" In the first place, I do, as I am bound, heartily 
thank God for raising me so great and generous a bene- 
factor as your Grace, when I so little expected or de- 
served it. 

" And then return my poor thanks to your Lordship ; 
though but a sorry acknowledgment, yet all I have, for 
the pains and trouble you have been at on my account. 
I most humbly thank your Grace that you did not close 
with the motion which you mentioned in your Grace's 
first letter ; for I should rather choose to remain all my 
life in my present circumstances, than so much as con- 
sent that your Lordship should do any such thing ; nor, 
indeed, should I be willing on my own account to trouble 


the House of Lords in the method proposed ; for I 
believe mine would be the first instance of a brief for 
losses by child-bearing, that ever came before that honour- 
able house. 

" Had your Grace been able to have effected nothing 
for me, the generosity and goodness had been the same ; 
and I should have prayed for as great a heap of blessings 
on your Grace and your family. But I can do no more 
now I have such considerable assistance by your Grace's 
charitable endeavours. When I received your Grace's 
first letter, I thanked God upon my knees for't; and 
have done the same I believe twenty times since, as 
often as I have read it ; and more than once for the 
other, which I received but yesterday. 

" Certainly, never did an archbishop of England write 
in such a manner to an isle-poet : but it is peculiar to 
your Grace to oblige so as none besides can do it. I 
know your Grace will be angry, but I can't help it : 
truth will out, though in a plain and rough dress ; and I 
should sin against God, if I now neglected to make all 
the poor acknowledgments I am able." 

After several other matters, of a more private nature, 
he mentions the great kindness of the Countess of 
Northampton; and says, he must divide what she has 
given him, " half to my poor mother, with whom I am 
now above a year behind hand ; the other ten pounds 
for my own family. My mother will wait on your Grace 
for her ten pounds : she knows not the particulars of 
my circumstances, which I keep from her as much as I 
can, that they may not trouble her." 

The following letter, written four days after the above, 
is both singular and characteristic. 

k 3 

198 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

"Epmrth, May 18th, 1701- 
"My Lord, 
" This comes as a rider to the last, by the same post, 
to bring such news as I presume will not be unwelcome 
to a person who has so particular a concern for me. Last 
night my wife brought me a few children. There are 
but two yet, a boy and a girl, and I think they are all at 
present : we have had four in two years and a day, three 
of which are living. 

" Never came any thing more like a gift from heaven 
than what the Countess of Northampton sent by your 
Lordship's charitable offices. Wednesday evening my 
wife and I clubbed and joined stocks, which came but to 
six shillings, to send for coals. Thursday morning I 
received the ten pounds ; and at night my wife was de- 
livered. Glory be to God for his unspeakable goodness ! 
" Your Grace's most obliged 
" and most humble servant, 

" S. Wesley." 

About this time, 1701, a remarkable anecdote occurs 
in the Life of the Rector of Epworth. I shall give it in 
the words of his son, Mr. John Wesley, as I had it from 

" Were I," said he, " to write my own life, I should 
begin it before I was born, merely for the purpose of 
mentioning a disagreement between my father and mo- 
ther. ' Sukey,' said my father to my mother, one day after 
family prayer, 'why did you not say amen this morning to 
the prayer for the king ?' ' Because,' said she, 'I do not 
believe the Prince of Orange to be king.' ' If that be the 
case, said he, ' you and I must part ; for if we have two 
kings, we must have two beds.' My mother was in- 


flexible. My father went immediately to his study ; 
and, after spending some time with himself, set out for 
London, where, being convocation man for the diocese of 
Lincoln, he remained without visiting his own house for 
the remainder of the year. On March 8th in the follow- 
ing year, 1702, King William died; and as both my 
father and mother were agreed as to the legitimacy of 
Queen Anne's title, the cause of their misunderstanding 
ceased. My father returned to Epworth, and conjugal 
harmony was restored." 

Mr. Wesley observes, that his father was convocation 
man that year. To the generality of readers this word 
requires explanation. 

Convocation, in our church history, signifies an assem- 
bly of the clergy, for a consultation of matters ecclesias- 
tical, in time of parliament. And as the parliament 
consists of two distinct houses, so does this : the one 
called the upper house, where the archbishops and 
bishops sit severally by themselves ; the other, the lower 
house, where all the rest of the clergy are represented by 
their deputies or proctors, consisting of all the deans and 
archdeacons ; of one proctor for every chapter, and two 
for the clergy of every diocese ; in all 143 divines, viz., 
22 deans, 53 archdeacons, 24 prebendaries, and 44 proc- 
tors of the diocesan clergy. The convocation is sum- 
moned by the king's writ directed to the archbishop of 
each province, requiring him to summon all bishops, 
deans, archdeacons, &c. In this convocation the clergy 
exercise jurisdiction for the church, in making of canons; 
but these must have the king's assent. And they have 
the power of examining and censuring all heretical and 
schismatical books and persons; but an appeal lies to 
the king in chancery, or to his delegates, and the whole 
powers are limited by statute 25 Hen. VIII., cap. 19. 

200 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

The "clergy in their attendance on the convocation 
hare the same privileges as members of the house of 
commons, in freedom from arrest. 

Mr. Wesley attended these convocations for three 
years, at the expense to himself of fifty pounds per 
annum. It appears that he might have avoided this 
expense, as he was censured for taking this office upon 
him, which ill accorded with the narrowness of his do- 
mestic circumstances. 

I have already observed, in the account given of Mr. 
John Wesley, of Whitchurch, Mr. Samuel Wesley's 
father, that every genuine minister of the gospel con- 
siders himself a missionary ; and that when he receives 
his commission from the Head of the Church, he knows 
that it in effect says, "Go ye into all the world, and 
preach the gospel to every creature." About this time 
Mr. Wesley appears to have had his mind seriously 
impressed with the miserable state of the heathen, and 
with a strong desire to go to them, and proclaim the 
unsearchable riches of Christ. He had mentioned his 
desire in a general way to Archbishop Sharp, and given 
him some hints concerning proposals which he had 
made, probably to the Society for the Propagation of 
Christianity in Foreign Parts, and to some members of 
the administration. 

It appears that the archbishop had desired an account 
of the whole scheme ; and he sent him the following 
paper, which is unfortunately without a date ; but is 
in his own handwriting, and is subscribed by the arch- 

" The scheme I had laid, if I went to the East Indies, 
and which by God's grace I shall yet prosecute if I go 
thither, and am enabled to do it, was not confined to 


one place or nation, but aimed at a more general service 
to Christianity. 

"My design consisted of three parts; the first relating 
to our own people, the native English and their subjects, 
which I am told at one of our colonies are numerous ; 
the second to other Christian Churches, whether out of 
the Koman communion, or members of it ; the third, to 
the heathen. 

"1. As to our oten. I would make a particular in- 
quiry into the state of Christianity in all our factories 
and settlements, from St. Helena to the further eastern 
countries ; travelling where I could myself, either by 
land or sea ; and where that could not be done, fixing a 
correspondence, which I should have the convenience of 
doing from Surat, it being a mart for so many nations. 
I would inquire into the number of our people, their 
morals, and their ministers. It should be my faithful 
endeavour to revive the spirit of Christianity amongst 
them, by spreading good books, bringing them to cate- 
chising, or any other means, as I should be directed from 
hence, or as God should enable me. 

" 2. As to other Christian churches. First, those who 
are of the Roman communion. I would endeavour 
to fix a correspondence with the church of Abyssinia; 
or, if it was thought fit by my superiors, even to try if 
I could pierce into that country myself. However, in 
the second place, I could personally inquire into the 
state of the poor Christians of St. Thomas, who are 
scattered over the Indies ; and settle a correspondence 
between them and the Church of England. 

" As to the Romanists, I might probably light on some 
opportunity to convey some of our books amongst them, 
translated into the language of the countries where they 
are ; and even as far as China (where we have a con- 

202 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

siderable factory), whereby the Jesuits' half-converts 
might be better instructed in the principles of our religion, 
or made more than almost Christians. 

" 3. For the Gentoos. I would see if I could learn 
the Hindostan language ; and when I once got master 
of their notions, and way of reasoning, endeavour to 
bring over some of their Bramines or Bannians, and 
common people, to the Christian religion ; the govern- 
ment, I suppose, being not very strict as to those 

" I know I am not sufficient for the least of these de- 
signs, much less for all together. But as 'twould be 
well worth dying for to make some progress in any of 
'em, so I would expect the same assistance as to kind, 
though not to degree, which was granted of old to the 
first planters of the gospel. Nor would I neglect, but 
humbly and thankfully receive, any instructions from 
my superiors or others, my acquaintance and corre- 
spondents both here and in the Indies, in order to 
accomplish the end of my mission. 

" This seems to be a different design from settling all 
together at some one of our particular factories, all of 
which the East India Company are to provide for. But 
whether it deserves encouragement from the corporation, 
must be left to their piety and wisdom. As likewise 
whether Her Majesty QQueen Anne] might not be pre- 
vailed upon to encourage by her royal favour a design 
of this nature ; the French king sending so many 
missions into those parts. 

" However, if one hundred pounds per annum might 
be allowed me, and forty I must pay my curate in my 
absence, either from the East India Company or other- 
where, I should be ready to venture my life on this 
occasion, provided any way might be found to secure a 


subsistence for my family in case of my decease in those 

The event proves that Mr. Wesley's plan was not 
adopted, at least as far as he himself was personally con- 
cerned in it; but perhaps some of the subsequent opera- 
tions of the Society for promoting Christian knowledge 
in the East were not altogether unindebted to the hint 
thrown out in this paper. 

The plan was such as the British church and govern- 
ment might have easily put into execution ; and for per- 
sonal courage, spirit, and missionary zeal, probably a 
fitter instrument than Samuel "Wesley could not then 
have been readily found. One hundred pounds for him- 
self, and forty for a curate, was a very moderate request ; 
and he no doubt supposed that the income of the 
rectory might be sufficient to support his family during 
his absence. 

The same spirit that would have carried the father to 
Abyssinia, India, and China, afterwards earned his son 
across the Atlantic to preach the gospel to the different 
tribes of American Indians ; and has urged his sons and 
successors in the ministry to carry the glad tidings of 
Christ crucified to America, the West India Islands, 
West and South Africa, to New South Wales, to Van 
Dieman's Land, to New Zealand, the Island of Ceylon, 
and the Peninsula of India. In the Wesley family the 
seeds of missionary zeal were early sown ; they vege- 
tated slowly; but are now producing an abundant 
harvest to the glory of the God of missionaries, whose 
salvation shall be revealed to the ends of the earth. 

Mr. Wesley not having got on the right side of his 
income as yet, was grievously troubled with his old 
creditors, some of whom appear to have been implacable 

204 of mk. wesley's ancestors. 

and unmerciful ; he was obliged in consequence to take 
a journey to London, to endeavour to raise some money 
amongst his friends. In a letter to the archbishop, dated 
August 7> 1702, he mentions several sums which he 
received from eminent persons: the Dean of Exeter, 
£10; Dr. Stanley, £10; Archbishop of Canterbury, 
£10 10s. ; " and even my lord Marquis of Normanby, 
by my good lady's solicitations succeeding your Grace's, 
did verily and indeed, with his own hand, give me 
twenty guineas, and my lady five. With these and 
other sums I made up about sixty pounds, and came 
home joyful enough, thanked God, paid as many debts 
as I could, quieted the rest of my creditors, took the 
management of my house into my own hands, and had 
ten guineas left to take my harvest." 

The reader will recollect why Mr. "Wesley mentions so 
particularly, and with surprise, the gift of twenty guineas 
from the Marquis of Normanby — the insult offered to 
his mistress, whom Mr. "Wesley handed out of his house ; 
in consequence of which he was obliged to resign the 
living of South Ormsby, which had been given or pro- 
cured for him by that nobleman. (See p. 108, ante.) 

The following question appears in the Athenian Oracle; 
and I am inclined to think, from the subject-matter, 
that it applies to the Rev. S. "Wesley and his patron the 

Question. I am a chaplain in a certain family, which 
is not so regular and religious as I could wish it. I am 
forced to see misses, drinking, gaming, &c, and dare 
not open my mouth against them. I would gladly be 
satisfied what is the duty of a chaplain in this or 
other cases, and how far he is obliged to take care of 
the morals of the farnily he lives in? Your answer 
may be of use to a great many besides myself ; for I 


cannot believe that to say grace, and read prayers (now 
and then when my patron is at leisure), is all the duty of 
a chaplain. 

Answer. The pulpit is a privileged place, where, as 
custom has given you authority to speak, so you may 
with prudence moderate your discourse, as either to 
accomplish a reformation, or at least acquit yourself, and 
discharge your own duty. Righteousness, temperance, 
and the judgment to come, if reasoned upon as they 
were almost seventeen ages since, may find a second 
Felix. The pulpit (as we said before) is the most 
(sometimes the only) proper place to convince strangers 
of their faults, but private retirements are convenient 
for friends and familiars. These are rules of latitude; 
but all the world is reducible to one of them, and the 
practice is indispensable. — Athenian Oracle, vol. i., 
p. 542. 

That the Marchioness of Normanby should have used 
her endeavours with the Marquis to get Mr. "Wesley this 
donation, is not to be wondered at, for the above reason ; 
and the Marquis himself, though highly incensed for the 
time, had good sense enough to see that the minister of 
God had done only his duty in the matter which had 
given his lordship so much displeasure. And that the • 
Marchioness continued to assist the necessities of the rector 
of Epworth, is evident from the dedication of his third 
edition of the New Testament to her ladyship, in which, 
as has been observed, though he mourns over the loss 
of his late patroness, the queen, he yet " rejoices that 
the marchioness survives." 

In the same letter a very grievous and distressing 
occurrence is thus related. After mentioning the joy he 
felt on being enabled to discharge so many small debts, in 



consequence of which he was permitted to take his own 
harvest, he adds, 

" But he that's born to be a poet must, I am afraid, 
live and die so (that is, poor), for on the last of July, 
1702, a fire broke out in my house, by some sparks 
which took hold of the thatch this dry time, and con- 
sumed about two-thirds of it before it could be quenched. 
I was at the lower end of the town to visit a sick per- 
son, and thence to It. Cogan's. As I was returning, 
they brought me the news. I got one of his horses, rode 
up, and heard by the way that my wife, children, and 
books were saved ; for which God be praised, as well as 
for what He has taken. They were all together in my 
study, and the fire under them. When it broke out 
she got two of the children in her arms, and ran through 
the smoke and fire ; but one of them was left in the 
hurry, till the other cried for her, and the neighbours 
ran in and got her out through the fire, as they did my 
books, and most of my goods ; this very paper amongst 
the rest, which I afterwards found, as I was looking over 
what was saved. 

" I find 'tis some happiness to have been miserable ; 
for my mind has been so blunted with former misfor- 
tunes, that this scarce made any impression upon me. 
I shall go on, by God's assistance, to take my tithe ; and, 
when that's in, to rebuild my house, having at last 
crowded my family into what's left, and not missing many 
of my goods. 

" I humbly ask your Grace's pardon for this long 
melancholy story, and leave to subscribe myself 
" Your Grace's 
" ever obliged and most humble servant, 

"S. Wesley." 


It is rather singular that on the sheet of paper on 
•which this letter is written, he had begun a letter to the 
archbishop in the last month, having just written these 
words, — 

"Epwortk, July 25, 1702. 
" My Lord," 

Not having time then to proceed, this sheet lay ready 
in his study for his farther entries ; was saved out of the 
fire with the rest of his books and papers, the fire having 
consumed about four square inches of the lower corner 
of the fly leaf. On this burnt paper was the above 
letter written. It lies before me, a monument of God's 
mercy in preserving from so near a death his wife and 
children. The stains of the water that helped to 
quench the burning are still evident on the paper. It was 
in the following year that the founder of the Methodists 
was born. 

Mr. Wesley speaks of the fire being occasioned " by 
some sparks which took hold of the thatch." The house 
was of such materials as rendered it exceedingly liable 
to damage by fire. It was a very humble dwelling ; and 
I am enabled to lay before the reader a perfect descrip- 
tion of the whole building, from the most authentic 
source; a survey taken June 19, Anno Eegni Jacobi, 
D. Gr. 4 and 40, A. D. 1607, i. e., in the fourth year 
of King James's reign in England, and fortieth in Scot- 

Epworth \ A Survey or Terrier of all the Pos- 
Rectoria. f sessions belonging to the Rectorie of Ep- 
worth, made and taken by the viewe Perambulation and 
Estimate of 'the Minister, Churchwardens and sidesmen 

208 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

and others, inhabitants, these being nominated and 
appointed by William Folkingham, gent., General Sur- 
veyor of Church gleabs and possessions within the 
Diocese of Lincoln, by virtue of a Commission decreed 
by the Eevd. Father in God, William, L. Bishoppe of 
Lincoln, in execution of the Canon on that behalf 

Imprimis. The Home Stall, or Scite of the Parson- 
age, situate and lyenge betweene the field on the East, 
and Lancaster Lane on the West ; and abuttinge upon 
the Heigh Street on the South, and of John Maw (sonne 
of Thomas) his tennement, and a Croft on the North : 
and contayns by Estimation 3 Acres. 

Item. One Hemp Kiln that hath been usealeie occu- 
pied for the Parsonage ground, adjoyning upon the 

Item. Within the said Bounds are conteined the 
Parsonage House, consisting of 5 Baies, built all of 
timber and plaister, and covered with straw thache, the 
whole building being contrived into 3 stories, and dis- 
posed in 7 cheife Booms, viz. : A Kitchinge, a Hall, a 
Parlour, a Butterie, and three large upper rooms; be- 
sydes some others of common use ; and also a little 
garden empailed, betweene the stone wall and the South, 
on the South. 

Item. One Barn of 6 Baies, built all of timber and 
clay walls, and covered with straw thache; and out 
shotts about it, and one free house therebye. 

Item. One Dovecoate of Timber and Plaister, covered 
with straw thache," &c. 

As the rest of this terrier refers to the glebe lands 
belonging to the rectory, it is unnecessary to transcribe 


it. Only one thing may be noticed, that about twenty- 
seven acres that originally belonged to this rectory are 
not now to be found, as the boundaries in the descrip- 
tion are no longer capable of being ascertained. 

Such was the parsonage house at Epworth, which by 
this fire was nearly consumed ; and which, in a few 
years afterwards, was totally burnt down, and rebuilt at 
Mr. Wesley's own expense ; which house remains to the 
present day, in all respects greatly superior to the pre- 

The Archbishop, to whom this account was sent, came 
forward both with his purse and his influence, as on 
former occasions ; and this produced the following letter, 
drawn up in the true spirit of gratitude, and in language 
at once deeply pious, and highly dignified. 

"Epworth, Mart. 20, 1703. 
"My Lord, 

" I have heard that all great men have the art of for- 
getfulness, but never found it in such perfection as in 
your Lordship : only it is in a different way from others ; 
for most forget their promises, but your Grace those 
benefits you have conferred. I am pretty confident your 
Grace neither reflects on nor imagines how much you 
have done for me ; nor what sums I have received by 
your lordship's bounty and favour ; without which I had 
been, ere this, mouldy in a jail, and sunk a thousand 
fathom below nothing. 

" Will your Grace permit me to show you an account 
of some of them ? 




. 20 

. 20 

> 26 



. 43 

. 40 

. 10 

. 25 




210 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

From the Marchioness of Normanby . 

The Lady Northampton (I think) 

Duke of Buckingham and Duchess, 2 years since 

The Queen* 

The Bishop of Sarum .... 

The Archbishop of York, at least 
Besides lent to (almost) a desperate debtor 

" A frightful sum, if one saw it all together ; but it is 
beyond thanks, and I must never hope to perform that 
as I ought till another world ; where, if I get first into 
the harbour, I hope none shall go before me in wel- 
coming your lordship into everlasting habitations ; where 
you will be no more tired with my follies, nor concerned 
at my misfortunes. However, I may pray for your Grace 
while I have breath, and that for something nobler than 
this world can give ; it is for the increase of God's 
favour, of the light of his countenance, and of the fore- 
tastes of those joys, the firm belief whereof can only 
support us in this weary wilderness. And, if it be not 
too bold a request, I beg your Grace would not forget me, 
though it be but in your prayer for all sorts and con- 
ditions of men ; among whom, as none has been more 
obliged to your Grace, so I am sure none ought to have a 
deeper sense of it than 

" Your Grace's most dutiful, 

"and most humble servant, 

"S. Wesley." 

* Samuel Wesley, jun., does not overlook the benefactions which 
the queen bestowed on his father, for in his Poems he says of her : 

" In deserts wild the prophet's sons she fed, 
And made the hungry ravens bring them bread." 

12mo. edit., p. 142. 


11 May, 1705, there was a contested election for the 
nty of Lincoln. Sir John Thorold, and a person 
ed "the Champion," Dymoke, the late members, were 
losed by Colonel Whichcott and Mr. Alb. Bertie. 
. "Wesley, supposing there was a design to raise up 
isbyterianism over the church, and that Whichcott and 
rtie were favourable to it (in consequence of which 
dissenters were all in their interest), espoused the 
er party j which happening to be unpopular and un- 
cessful, he was exposed to great insult and danger ; 
; only by the mobs, but by some leading men of the 
icessful faction. There is before me a long account of 
ise shameful transactions, in two letters written to 
chbishop Sharp, from which I shall extract only a few 
rticulars : 

" I went to Lincoln on Tuesday night, May 29th ; and 
! election began on Wednesday, 30th. A great part 
the night our Isle people kept drumming, shouting, 
i firing of pistols and guns under the window where 
7 wife lay ; who had been brought to bed not three 
ieks. I had put the child to nurse over against my 
n house : the noise kept his nurse waking till one or 
o in the morning. Then they left off; and the nurse 
ing heavy to sleep, overlaid the child. She waked ; 
d finding it dead, ran over with it to my house, almost 
itracted ; and calling my servants, threw it into their 
ns. They, as wise as she, ran up with it to my wife ; 
d before she was well awake, threw it cold and dead 
to hers. She composed herself as well as she could, 
d that day got it buried. 

" A clergyman met me in the castle yard, and told 
s to withdraw, for the Isle men intended me a mischief. 

212 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

guts out." My servant had the same advice. I went by 
Gainsbro', and God preserved me. 

" When they knew I was got home, they sent the 
drum and mob, with guns, &c., as usual, to compliment 
me till after midnight. One of them passing by on 
Friday evening, and seeing my children in the yard, 
cried out, '. ye devils ! we will come and turn ye all 
out of doors a begging shortly.' God convert them, and 
forgive them ! 

" All this, thank God, does not in the least sink my 
wife's spirits. For my own, I feel them disturbed and 
disordered ; but for all that, I am going on with my 
reply to Palmer ; which, whether I am in prison or 
out" of it, I hope to get finished by the next session 
of Parliament, for I have now no more regiments to 

"S. Wesley." 

" Epwortk, June 7th, 1705." 

As I totally disapprove a minister of the gospel enter- 
ing into party politics, and especially into electioneering 
affairs, I cannot but blame Mr. Wesley for the part he 
took in these transactions ; for, even according to his own 
showing, he acted imprudently, and laid himself open 
to those who waited for his halting, and who seemed to 
think they did God service by doing him a mischief; 
because they knew him to be a high churchman, and con- 
sequently an enemy to their religious system. He was 
in their power; under pecuniary obligations to some 
principal men among them; and he was often led to 
understand, by no obscure intimations, that he must 
either immediately discharge those obligations, which he 
required time to enable him to do, or else expect to be 
shortly lodged in Lincoln Castle. These were not vain 


plaincy to Colonel Lepelle's regiment ; and how much 
ber they proceeded the following letter to the Arch- 
iop of York will tell : — v 

"Lincoln Castle, June 25th, 1705. 
" My Lord, 
Now I am at rest, for I am come to the haven where 
i long expected to be. On Friday last £June 23], 
3n I had been in christening a child at Epworth, I 
; arrested in my church-yard by one who had been my 
rant, and gathered my tithe last year, at the suit of 

of Mr. "vThichcott's relations and zealous friends 
r. Pinder], according to their promise, Wnen they were 
he Isle before the election. The sum was not thirty 
inds ; but it was as good as five hundred. Now they 
jw the burning of my flax, my London journey, and 
ir throwing me out of my regiment, had both sunk 

credit, and exhausted my money. My adversary 
3 sent to, when I was on the road, to meet me, that I 
*ht make some proposals to him. But all his answer 
hich I have by me) was, that ' I must immediately 
r the whole sum, or go to prison.' Thither I went, 
ih no great concern for myself; and find much more 
ility and satisfaction here than in brevibus gyaris of 
' own Epworth. I thank God, my wife was pretty 
11 recovered, and churched some days before I was 
ran from her ; and hope she'll be able to look to my 
oily, if they don't turn them out of doors, as they 
ve often threatened to do. One of my biggest con- 
ns was my being forced to leave my poor lambs in the 
dst of so many wolves. But the great Shepherd is 
le to provide for them, and to preserve them. My 
fe bears it with 'that nnnnuw wJiinli Tiecnmes her. and 

214 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

" I don't despair of doing some good here (and so long 
I shan't quite lose the end of living), and it may be, do 
more in this new parish than in my old one ; for I have 
leave to read prayers every morning and afternoon here 
in the prison, and to preach once a Sunday, which I 
choose to do in the afternoon, when there is no sermon 
at the minster. And I'm getting acquainted with my 
brother jail-birds as fast as I can ; and shall write to 
London next post, to the Society for propagating Chris- 
tian Knowledge, who, I hope, will send me some books 
to distribute among them. 

" I should not write these things from a jail if I 
thought your Grace would believe me ever the less for 
my being here; where, if I should lay my bones, I'd 
bless God, and pray for your Grace. 

" Your Grace's very obliged 

" and most humble servant, 

"S. Wesley." 

It was not likely that a tale so afflictive as the pre- 
ceding should leave the pious heart of the good Arch- 
bishop Sharp unaffected. He wrote to Mr. Wesley on 
the 30th a kind letter, stating his sympathy, and what he 
had heard against him ; especially as to his great obliga- 
tion to Colonel Whichcott, &c. This letter he imme- 
diately answers ; gives a satisfactory expose of all his 
affairs; his debts, and how they were contracted; at 
the same time showing that the reports which had reached 
the ears of his, Grace were perfectly false, and adduces 
proof; and concludes this part of his letter with patheti- 
cally entreating his Grace " not to be in haste to credit 
what they report of me, for really lies are the manufac- 
ture of the party ; and they have raised so many against 


i, and spread them so wide, that I am sometimes 
opted to print my case in my own vindication." 
[ shall give another extract from this letter, which 
isfactorily accounts for the way in which his heavy 
its were contracted, and how his consequent embar- 
sments arose : — 

" Lincoln Castle, July 1(M, 1705. 
" My Lord, 

■ Then I am not forgotten, neither by God 

r your lordship. My debts are about £300, which 

lave contracted by a series of misfortunes not unknown 
your Grace. The falling of my parsonage barn, before 
lad recovered the taking my living ; the burning great 
rt of my dwelling-house about two years since, and 
my flax last winter ; the fall of my income nearly 
e half, by the low price of grain ; the almost entire 
lure of my flax this year, which used to be the better 
If of my revenue ; with my numerous family, and the 
cing this regiment from me, which I had obtained 
ih so much expense and trouble ; have at last crushed 
, though I struggled as long as I was able. Yet I 
pe to rise again, as I have always done when at the 
rest ; and I think I cannot be much lower now." 

Party spirit, especially in political matters, is the great 
space and curse of England. This spirit knows no 
:nd ; feels no obligation ; is unacquainted with all dic- 
es of honesty, charity, and mercy ; and leaves no stone 
turned to ruin the object of its hate. "We have elec- 
as by law no more than once in seven years ; and 
i mischief that is then done to the moral character of 
i nation is scarcely repaired in the succeeding seven. 

216 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

foot by it ; common honesty is not heard, and lifts and 
defamation go abroad by wholesale. The rascal many 
catch the evil reports which the opposed candidates and 
their committees spread of each other, and the characters 
of the best men in the land are wounded and lie bleeding, 
till slow-paced oblivion cancels the remembrance of the 
transactions which gave them birth. Even now, when 
the nation is improved in its morals to an astonishing 
degree, these evils live in mighty vigour and gigantic 
form. What, then, must they have been more than a 
hundred years ago, when the nation was torn by civil 
and religious factions, and when a man knew not his 
own kindred but as they were arranged with him under 
his own creed, and the banner of his party ? 

Mr. Wesley and his family had already suffered much 
through the rage, and I may add malice, of the political 
party, the interests of which his conscience would not 
permit him to espouse. And he had his reasons ; he knew 
the party, their views, and their designs; and he had 
counted the cost, for he well knew the penalty annexed 
to his opposition. They were not content with loading 
him with obloquies, and casting him into prison, but pro- 
ceeded further to destroy his family, by drying up the 
sources whence they derived the necessaries of life ! 
The following letter to the archbishop gives terrible 
proof of this implacable malevolence. 

" Lincoln Castle, Sept. 12th, 1705. 
" My Lord, 
" Tis happy for me that your Grace has entertained no 
ill opinion of me, and won't alter what you have enter- 
tained without reason. But it is still happier that I 
serve a Master who cannot be deceived, and who, I am 
sure, will never forsake me. A iail is a Daradise in com- 


rison of the life I led before I came hither. No man 
s worked truer for bread than I have done, and few 
ve lived harder, or their families either. I am grown 
ary of vindicating myself; not, I thank God, that my 
xits sink, or that I have not right of my side, but 
cause I have almost a whole world against me, and 
;refore shall in the main leave my cause to the right- 
is Judge." 

He goes on to mention two points in which he was 
lelly misrepresented, as if certain evils done to him 
i come by accident, or were done by himself. What 
rticularly concerns the present Memoir is the fol- 
ding :— 

; ' The other matter is concerning the stabbing my cows 
the night since I came hither, but a few weeks ago ; 
1 endeavouring thereby to starve my forlorn family in 
' absence ; my cows being all dried by it, which was 
?ir chief subsistence ; though I hope they had not the 
iver to kill any of them outright. 
; ' They found out a good expedient, after it was done, 
.turn it oft", and divert the cry of the world against 
sm ; and it was to spread a report that my own brawn 
I this mischief; though at first they said my cows ran 
tinst a scythe and wounded themselves. 
' As for the brawn, I think any impartial jury would 
ng him in not guilty, on hearing the evidence. There 
re three cows all wounded at the same time, one of 
*n in three places : the biggest was a flesh wound, 
i slanting but directly in, towards the heart, which it 
y missed by glancing outward on the rib. It was 
le inches deep ; whereas the brawn's tusks were 
:dlv two inches long. All conclude that the work 

218 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

was done with a sword, by the breadth and shape of the 
orifice. The same night the iron latch of my door was 
twined off, and the wood hacked in order to shoot back 
the lock, which nobody will think was with an intention 
to rob my family. My house-dog, who made a huge 
noise within doors, was sufficiently punished for his want 
of politics and moderation ; for the next day but one 
his leg was almost chopped off by an unknown hand. 
'Tis not every one could bear these things : but, I bless 
God, my wife is less concerned with suffering them than 
I am in the writing, or than I believe your Grace will 
be in reading them. She is not what she is represented, 
any more than me. I believe it was this foul beast of 
a worse-than-Erymanthean boar, already mentioned, who 
fired my flax by rubbing his tusks against the wall ; but 
that was no great matter, since it is now reported I had 
but five pounds loss. 

" O my lord ! I once more repeat it, that I shall some 
time have a more equal Judge than any in this world. 

" Most of my friends advise me to leave Epworth, if 
e'er I should get from hence. I confess I am not of 
that mind, because I may yet do good there ; and 'tis 
like a coward to desert my post because the enemy fire 
thick upon me. They have only wounded me yet, and, 
I believe, can't kill me. I hope to be at home by Xmas. 
God help my poor family ! For myself, I have but one 
life : but while that lasts, shall be, 

" Your Grace's ever obliged 

" and most humble servant, 

"S. Wesley." • 

He speaks of his friends advising him to leave Epworth; 
and this will explain, perhaps, the following question 
proposed to the Athenian Society, most probably by Mr. 


esley himself, with a view to meet the eyes of his 

Question. "A beneficed clergyman, being indebted 
seven creditors, who will not accept of such payments 
his circumstances enable him to make, is constrained 
absent from his living, to avoid a prison. Ought he 
resign the living, since he cannot personally attend it ; 
can the bishop lawfully deprive him of it, an able 
rate being kept upon the place ?" 
Answer. " He ought, first, to consider with himself 
tether his own extravagance or folly has not reduced 
n to such extremities, there being not many instances 
lere a man keeps a good reputation, that his creditors 
11 be so violent as these are here represented ; but 
wever he finds it, he is not, we think, obliged imme- 
itely to resign; since, though he cannot at present 
end it in person, he may, perhaps, hereafter be in better 
cumstances. We humbly conceive his ordinary is not 
liged to deprive him ; nor can it fairly be done, if 
ere be one who takes good care of his people in his 
sence ; for should things come to the worst, a seques- 
ition of the profits of the living might in time satisfy 
3 creditors, and he himself might serve the cure, if it 
;re not more advisable to get a chaplain's post at sea, 
in the army ; the readiest way to recover his shat- 
red fortune." — Athen. Oracle, Vol. IV., p. 318. 
As it was evident his sufferings were occasioned by 
e malice of those who hated both his ecclesiastical and 
ite politics, the clergy, and several who were well 
: ected to the government, lent him prompt and effec- 
al assistance, so that in a short time more than half of 
3 debts were paid, and all the rest in a train of being 
uidated. These things he mentions with the highest 

220 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

gratitude in the following letter to the Archbishop of 

Lincoln Castle, 'Jr. [Sepr.] 17, 1705. 
" My Lord, 

" I am so full of God's mercies that neither my eyes 
nor heart can hold them. When I came hither, my 
stock was but little above ten shillings, and my wife's at 
home scarce so much. She soon sent me her rings, 
because she had nothing else to relieve me with ; but I 
returned them, and God soon provided for me. The 
most of those who have been my benefactors keep them- 
selves concealed. But they are all known to Him who 
first put it into their hearts to show me so much kind- 
ness ; and I beg your Grace to assist me to praise God 
for it, and to pray for his blessing upon them. 

" This day I have received a letter from Mr. Hoar,* 
that he has paid ninety-five pounds, which he has re- 
ceived from me. He adds that ' a very great man has 
just sent him thirty pounds more;' he mentions not his 
name, though surely it must be my patron. I find I 
walk a deal lighter ; and hope I shall sleep better now 
these sums are paid, which will make almost half my 
debts. I am a bad beggar, and worse at returning formal 
thanks : but I can pray heartily for my benefactors ; and 
I hope I shall do it while I live, and so long beg to be 

" Your Grace's most obliged, 
" and thankful humble servant, 

"Sam. Wesley." 

* Query. Is the gentleman who published the life of George 
Sharp, and the anecdote of the archbishop and highwayman, a 
descendant of this Mr. Hoar 1 — Edit. 


I find no account of Mr. Wesley's liberation from 
acoln Castle, where he had now been for about three 
mths ; but I suppose it took place shortly after this, 
i that he was with his family at Christmas. He ap- 
irs to have got on in life much more pleasantly than 
"ore; and the evil which his enemies intended him 
s turned to his advantage ; the wrath of man praised 
id, and the remainder of it he restrained. I meet 
th no more complaints in his correspondence, which, 
th the Archbishop of York, appears to have been in- 
rupted till the year 1707, when it was resumed on 
rely clerical business.* 

[ have already had occasion several times to refer to 
; poem on the Battle of Blenheim, which was written 
1705, and procured him a chaplainship in the army. 
is poem I had not seen in print, when the first edi- 
n of this work was presented to the public. Since 
:n, it has been sent to me by my respected friend 
: Rev. James Everett. It is a folio pamphlet of 
slve pages, " dedicated to the Right Honourable 
ister Godolphin, by Samuel "Wesley, M. A. London, 
nted for Charles Harper, 1705." It contains 526 
es. But a corrected and enlarged copy, designed pro- 
>ly for a second edition, and written out in his best 
id, by Mr. Wesley himself, and sent to the Archbishop 
York, now lies before me, and may be finally lost, if 
t inserted in the memoirs. It contains five hundred 
I ninety-four lines, is entitled, " Marlborough, or the 
te of Europe," and will be found in an appendix at 
: close of this volume, No. I. 

' Seventy-five years afterwards we find his son, John Wesley, 
aching in the Castle-yard and Court-house, previcus to which 
had not visited the citv for fifty veara 



This long poem would admit of much illustration : 
but as the transactions it records are all in common his- 
tory, the reader can find little difficulty in furnishing 
himself with the necessary elucidations. Instead, there- 
fore, of a tissue of notes, I shall give a general account 
of the battle, which Mr. "Wesley has so largely sung : — 

The battle is frequently called in our histories the 
battle of Hockstet ; and also the battle of Blenheim or 
Pleytheim. Hockstet is a fortified town of Germany, 
on the north side of the Danube, about twenty-nine 
miles south-west of ULm, and ten west by south of 

Blenheim is only a village in the late circle of Ba- 
varia, on the north of the Danube, about three miles 
east of Hockstet, and thirty north-east of Ulm. 

This famous battle was fought Aug. 13, 1704, between 
the French and Bavarians on the one side, commanded 
by Marshal Tallard and the Elector of Bavaria; and 
the Allies on the other, commanded by the Duke of 
Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy. The armies 
were nearly equal ; the French had about 60,000 veteran 
troops, and the Allies about 52,000. The English, Im- 
perialists, Dutch, and Danes, of which the allied army 
was composed, were among the bravest of men, and had 
been accustomed to conquer. The French troops were 
those whom their great monarch had led on to frequent 
victory ; and had seldom been broken in the field, or 
showed their backs to an enemy. 

Owing to some gross errors committed by Marshal Tal- 
lard, of which the Duke of Marlborough knew well how 
to avail himself, the French and Bavarians were defeated 
with the loss of nearly 40,000 men. Thirteen thousand 
were made prisoners, among whom were 1200 officers. 
Ten French battalions Were entirely cut to pieces ; thirty 


squadrons of horse and dragoons were forced into the 
Danube, most of whom were drowned. Marshal Tal- 
lard, owing to the imperfection of his sight, for he was 
extremely short-sighted, mistaking a battalion of the 
Hessians, who fought in the pay of England, for his 
own troops, rode among them, and was taken prisoner. 
Among the prisoners were several of the French nobility. 
The Marquis De Montperaux, general of the horse ; De 
Seppeville, De Silly, and De la Valiere, major-generals : 
Monsieur De la Massiliere, St. Pouange, De Legendais, 
and several others of distinction. 

The Allies gained above 100 pieces of cannon, 24 
mortars, 129 colours, 171 standards, 17 pair of kettle- 
drums, 3,600 tents, 34 coaches, 300 laden mules, 2 
bridges of boats, 14 pontoons, 24 barrels,- and 8 casks of 

They lost 4,485 men killed, 7>525 wounded, and 273 
lost or made prisoners ; in all 12,283. 

By this battle the Elector of Bavaria lost all his do- 
minions, and the King of France the bravest of his 
armies ; and by it the German empire, previously totter- 
ing to its centre, and trembling on the brink of total 
ruin, was freed from the French, and suddenly restored 
to its political consequence. It is not to be wondered 
at that the great hero under whose skill and manage- 
ment this important battle was gained, should be loaded 
with honours and emoluments by those in whose service 
he had conquered. The Emperor of Germany made 
him a prince of the empire, and assigned him Mindel- 
sheim in Suabia, for his principality. This dignity Queen 
Anne not only permitted him to accept, but gave him 
the honour and manor of Woodstock, and the hundred 
of Wootton to him and his heirs for ever ; and caused a 
palace to be built for him in Woodstock, called Blen- 

224 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

heim-rfouse ; which stands equally a monument of his 
victories, of British munificence, and of the skill of the 
artist by whom it was constructed. 

The poem itself has passed its day of criticism ; to at- 
tempt now to review its merits and defects, would be 
lost labour. It abounds in both : it has many verses 
which contain beauties of the very first order ; and it 
has others which are both lame and tame, and even 
worse than prose. But its principal defects are, its great 
length, which is not sufficiently diversified with either 
fiction or incident to make it impressive, or even enter- 
taining ; and the very inadequate description of a battle 
which was fought with extraordinary obstinacy on both 
sides, and especially on the part of thirteen thousand 
French troops which were posted in Blenheim, and 
which all the power of the Allies could not dislodge, 
though they returned again and again to the attack, 
and sacrificed a majority of their infantry before this 
paltry village. Even when Marshal Tallard and the 
Elector of Bavaria were defeated, the brave troops which 
occupied the village kept their ground ; and when, after 
the total route of the French and Bavarian lines, they 
were left without succour, and there was not a general 
officer to conduct their retreat, they seemed to capitulate 
like a strong garrison, rather than surrender themselves 
prisoners of war. Had not Mr. Wesley's prejudices 
against the French been carried to the highest pitch, 
his muse must have found in the conduct of those 
brave troops a subject equal to the highest flight of her 
strongest pinion. 

When the Duke of Marlborough visited his illustrious 
prisoner, Marshal Tallard, after the battle, the Marshal 
paid him the highest compliment, by saying, " My Lord, 
you have conquered the bravest army in the world:" 


which compliment the Duke but ill repaid by answer- 
ing, " I hope your Excellency will except those by whom 
they were vanquished." What a subject for the heroic 
muse ! An army, among the bravest in Europe, led on 
by commanders worthy of their high trust, who were 
out-generalled and totally defeated by the only generals 
and troops in the universe which were capable of the 
fact. Here British glory might have been relieved and 
emblazoned by French bravery. 

There is but one couplet in this poem, on which I 
shall make any remark. The poet, describing the French 
park of artillery, says, — 

•' A wall of cannons, which in fire and smoke 
Their master's last and only reason spoke." 

Lines 229, 230. 

This is an allusion to the motto which Louis XIV. 
placed on his brass ordnance, Ultima ratio Regum, " The 
last argument of Kings ;" or, more compressedly, " The 
logic of Kings." Rightly paraphrased thus : Sic volo ; 
siejubeo; stat pro ratione voluntas. "Thus I will; thus 
I command ; and my will shall stand in the place of 
reason and justice." I have seen some of these very 
cannon, with this inscription. This was a logic to which 
the French have often resorted ; and a logic with the 
rules of which the other powers of Europe are not un- 

In December, 1709, complaint was made to parlia- 
ment of two sermons published by Dr. Henry Sachaverel, 
rector of St. Saviour, Southwark, as containing positions 
contrary to the principles of the revolution, the present 
government, and the protestant succession. He was 
accordingly impeached at the bar of the House of Lords, 
in the name of all the Commons of England. The eyes 

226 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

of the whole kingdom were turned upon this extraor- 
dinary trial, which lasted three weeks. Many of my 
readers will remember the famous speech which the 
doctor delivered on his defence ; but few, perhaps, 
are aware that the celebrated speech he delivered on 
that occasion was composed by Samuel Wesley, the 
rector of Epworth, as his son John informs us in his 
History of England, vol. iv., p. 75 : " When the Com- 
mons (says he) had gone through their charges, the 
managers for Sachaverel undertook his defence with 
great art and eloquence. He afterwards recited a speech 
himself, which from the difference found between it and 
his sermons, seems evidently the work of another." 
And then in a note says : " It was wrote by the rector 
of Epworth, in Lincolnshire — J. W." Bishop Atter- 
bury has been generally supposed to have penned this 
defence, because the doctor, in his will, left him a legacy 
of £500. But my readers may be sure that the Rev. 
John Wesley would never have spoken in such unquali- 
fied terms, had he not been assured of the fact as here 

That I may dismiss Mr. Wesley's poetry at once, there 
is a piece, of exquisite merit, entitled, "Eupolis' Hymn 
to the Creator," which was made either by him or his 
daughter, Mrs. Wright, or by both conjointly, which I 
shall introduce into the Appendix of this volume (see 
No. II.), but will here make a few general remarks. 

1. The Hymn is attributed to Eupolis, an Athenian 
comic poet, Who flourished in the Ixxxviiith Olympiad, 
428 years before the incarnation of our Lord. He was 
killed in a naval engagement between the Athenians 
and Lacedaemonians ; and his death was so much 
lamented at Athens, that they made a law that no poet 
should ever more bear arms. He is said to have written 


about twenty-four comedies, of which the names only 
are extant, and may be found in Fabricius' Bibl. Graec, 
vol. i., p. 761. He is mentioned several times by Horace, 
and once by Persius. 

A work called Sententia, printed at Basil, 1560, 8vo., 
has been attributed to him. Of the present poem I shall 
speak more particularly at the conclusion. 

2. This poem or hymn is preceded by a dialogue be- 
tween Plato and Eupolis ; but neither it nor the hymn 
has ever yet been given complete to the public. In the 
present copy, there are eighty-four whole lines which 
have never been in print before ; and the dialogue is 
here, for the first time, given entire. 

3. The original dialogue and hymn now lie before me; 
and were written partly by Mr. Samuel Wesley himself, 
and partly by another hand, supposed to be his daughter, 
Mrs. Wright. The dialogue is in the handwriting of 
Mr. Wesley, and all those lines marked with sections; 
all the rest is in the handwriting of the person already 

4. In those verses supposed to be written by Mrs. 
Wright, there are frequent alterations and emendations 
in her father's hand ; but there is nothing of this kind 
in the verses written by him. Hence, one might be 
led to conclude that the former was the author of this 
beautiful hymn ; but that several alterations were made 
in it by her father, who has added to the amount of 
thirty-four lines, which are here marked with sections. 
Yet the profound and frequent classical allusions argue 
the hand of a first-rate scholar, and seem to be far 
beyond what might be reasonably expected from any 
female of that time. 

5. The lines printed here for the first time, and which 



are eighty-four in number, are distinguished by small 

6. I have added a series of notes on the more difficult 
expressions and allusions, which otherwise might em- 
barrass common readers. 

7- In the critique offered, I join, without noticing 
Mrs. Wright, the general voice, in attributing the hymn 
to the rector of Epworth. 

After taking so much pains with the poem, as the 
notes will testify, and producing it entire, which was 
never done before, some of my readers will naturally 
expect that I should either insert or refer to the Greek 
original. Could I have met in Greek with a hymn of 
Eupolis to the Creator, and the fragment of an unpub- 
lished dialogue of Plato, I should have inserted both 
with the greatest cheerfulness, and could have assured 
myself of the thanks of all the critics in Europe for my 
pains. That such a Greek original exists, and that the, 
above is a faithful translation from it, is the opinion of 
most who have seen the poem ; and some of Mr. Wes- 
ley's biographers have adduced it, "as being one of 
the finest pictures extant of Gentile piety ;" and farther 
tells us, " this hymn may throw light on that passage of 
St. Paul respecting the heathen, Rom. i. 21, &c. : 'When 
they knew God, they glorified him not as God. Where- 
fore God gave them up,' &c. Their polytheism was a 
punishment consequent upon their apostasy from God." 
I believe those Gentiles never apostatized from the true- 
God, the knowledge of whom they certainly never had,' 
till they received it by divine revelation. 

Knowing that the writers from whom I have quoted 
the above, were well educated and learned men, an< 
feeling an intense desire to find out this " finest pictur 


extant of Gentile piety," I have sought occasionally for 
above thirty years to find this original, but in vain. I 
have examined every Greek writer within my reach, 
particularly all the major and minor poets ; hut no hymn 
of Eupolis, or of any other, from which the above might 
be a translation, has ever occurred to me. I have 
inquired of learned men whether they had met with 
such a poem. None had seen it ! After many fruitless 
searches and inquiries, I went to Professor Porson, per- 
haps the most deeply learned and extensively read Greek 
scholar in Europe, and laid the subject and the question 
before him. He answered, " Eupolis, from the character 
we have of him, is the last man among the Greek poets 
from whom we could expect to see any thing pious or 
sublime concerning the divine nature : but you may rest 
assured that no such composition is extant in Greek." 
Of this I was sufficiently convinced before; but I 
thought it well to have the testimony of a scholar so 
eminent, that the question might be set at rest. 

The reader, therefore, may rest assured that Eupolis' 
hymn to the Creator is the production of the head and 
heart of Samuel Wesley, rector of Epworth; that it 
never had any other origin, and never existed in any 
other language. It may be considered as a fine, and in 
general very successful, attempt to imitate a Greek poet, 
who was master of the full power and harmony of his 
language, and had imbibed from numberless lectures the 
purest and most sublime ideas in the philosophy ol, 
Plato. The character of the platonist is wonderfulh* 
preserved throughout the whole ; the conceptions are al' 
worthy of the subject ; the Grecian history and mytho 
logy are woven through it with exquisite art ; and it it 
so like a finished work from the highest cultivated Greek 
muse, that I receive the evidence of my reason and 

230 op mk. wesley's ancestors. 

research with regret, when it assures me that this 
inimita'ble hymn was the production of the Isle-poet of 
Axholm. Should any of my readers he dissatisfied with 
the result of my inquiries, and still think that Eupolis' 
hymn to the Creator exists in Greek, and will go in quest 
of this Sangreal, he shall have my hest wishes for the 
good speed of his searches, and, when successful, my 
heartiest thanks. 

" But if the hymn of Eupolis be a forgery, what be- 
comes of the veracity, not to say honesty, of Mr. Samuel 
Wesley?" I answer, it is no forgery; it is nowhere 
said by him that it is a translation of the Greek original ; 
nor does it appear that he had any intention to deceive. 
Two words in the title are proof sufficient. " The (sup- 
posed) occasion," and, " part of (a new) Dialogue." He 
covered his design a little, to make his. readers search 
and examine. Some of them have not examined ; and 
therefore said of the poem, that it is a fine specimen of 
Gentile piety, which he never even intended. From 
the many oblique references to the history of his own 
times, and from the apparent accommodation of ancient 
facts to that history, I am led to think the author had 
a double design: 1. To try how far pure Platonic ideas 
could be applied in the praises, and in describing the 
perfections, of that God who has revealed himself to man- 
kind ; and, secondly, to give a useful lesson to his own 
times, relative to that restless spirit of republicanism 
which had levelled the major part of this kingdom. On 
this second consideration, it would be easy to form a 
useful critique on the whole poem ; the grand moral of 
which is : " God is the Fountain and Author of all good; 
he governs the world by a wise and gracious providence ; 
his wisdom is so perfect that he cannot err ; his good- 
ness is so great that he can do nothing evil; as he is 


infinitely merciful, he must always be kind. Subjection 
to his providence under all dispensations is true wisdom ; 
and to rebel against his government is folly and mad- 
ness. Kingly government is from himself; but he per- 
mits, tyrants to become the scourge of an ungrateful and 
disobedient people. 

" To tyrants made an easy prey, 
Who would not godlike kings obey : 
Tyrants and kings from Jove proceed ; 
Those are permitted, these decreed." 

I have spent a long time on this poem, because I be- 
lieve it to be, without exception, the finest on the subject 
in the English language. It possesses what Racine calls 
the genie createur, the genuine spirit of poetry. Pope's 
Messiah is fine, because Pope had Virgil's Pollio before 
him, and the bible. Mr. "Wesley takes nothing as a 
model ; he goes on the ground that the praises of the 
one Supreme had not been sung; he attempts what had 
not been done by any poet before the Platonic age, and 
he has no other helps than those furnished by his poetic 
powers and classical knowledge. It is not saying too 
much to assert, the man who was the author of what is 
called "Eupolis' Hymn to the Creator," had he taken time, 
care, and pains, and had not been continually harassed 
with the res angusta domi, would have adorned the 
highest walks of poetry. But to him poverty was the 
scourge of knowledge; and he fully experienced the 
truth of that maxim of the Roman satirist, from which 
I have quoted the above three words: — 

Haud facile emergunt, quorum virtutibus obstat 

Res angusta domi. J uv . Sat. iii., ver. 164. 

Rarely they rise by Learning's aid, who lie 
Plunged in the depth of helpless poverty. 



But he spent his time in something better thai 
making verses ; he was a laborious and useful parish 
priest; and educated a numerous family of males and 
females, who were a credit to him and to their coun- 
try. But more of this in its place. 

I have already mentioned a letter written by his 
brother Matthew to him, from which I have given an 
extract, with some short observations, and promised Mr. 
S. "Wesley's reply. The letter is without a date; but 
this seems a proper place to introduce it. It contains a 
connected series of domestic facts, from his own pen, 
which cast some light upon that part of his history 
which is past, as well as on that which is yet to be 

It is written in a serio-jocose style ; and is supposed 
to be communicated by a third person, who, having seen 
the letter of Mr. Matthew Wesley, handed the same to 
his brother Samuel, " that he might know what the 
left-handed part of the world said of him." The letter 
is headed, John o Styles' Apology against the imputation 
of his HI husbandry. The reader will recollect that the 
main charge brought by Surgeon Wesley against his 
brother was this, that "although he had a plentiful 
estate, and great and generous benefactions, yet he had 
made no provision for his numerous progeny ;" " that 
this was a black account," &c; and he calls him to "re- 
pentance, and to study the doctrine of restitution, that 
from a serious consideration of these things, he might 
prepare for the kingdom of heaven," &c. The pretended 
narrator goes on : — 

" When I had read this to my friend John o' Styles, I 
was a little surprised that he did not fall into flouncing 
and bouncing, as I have too often seen him do on far 
less provocation ; which I ascribed to a fit of sickness he 


had lately had, and which I hope may have brought 
him to something of a better mind. He stood calm 
and composed for a minute or two, and then desired he 
might peruse the letter, adding, that if the matter of 
fact therein were true, and not aggravated or misrepre- 
sented, he was obliged in conscience to acknowledge 
it, and ask pardon at least of his family, if he could 
make them no other satisfaction. If it were not true, he 
owed that justice to himself and his family, to clear 
himself, if possible, of so vile an imputation. After he 
had read it over, he said he did not think it necessary 
to enter into a detail of the history of his whole life, 
from sixteen to upwards of seventy, in order to the vin- 
dication of his conduct in all the particulars of it : but 
the method he chose, which he hoped would be satis- 
factory to all unprejudiced persons, would be to make 
some general observations on those general accusations 
which have been brought against him ; and then to add 
some balance of his incomes and expenses ever since he 
entered on the stage of life. 

"He observes, that all his indictment consists of 
generals, wherein fraud almost always lurks, and it is 
next to impossible for the clearest character to free itself 
entirely from it. 

The sum of the libel may be reduced to the following 
assertions : 1. That John o' Styles is worse than an in- 
fidel, and therefore can never go to heaven ; which 2dly, 
lie aims at proving — because he provides not for his own 
house ; as notorious instances of which he adds, in the 
.''id place, That in pursuit of his pleasures he had pro- 
duced a numerous offspring ; and has had a long time a 
plentiful estate, and great and generous benefactors, but 
yet has made no provision for those of his own house ; 

234 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

which fee thinks, in the last place, a black account, let 
the cause be folly or vanity, or his own irregular pas- 

Answer. If God has blessed him with a numerous 
offspring, he has no reason to be ashamed of them, nor 
they of him, unless perhaps one of them ; and if he had 
but that single one, it might have proved no honour or 
support to his name and family. Neither does his con- 
science accuse him that he has made no provision for 
those of his own house ; which general accusation in- 
cludes them all. But has he none, nay, not above one, 
two, or three, to whom he has (and some of them at 
very considerable expenses) given the best education 
which England could afford, by God's blessing on 
which they live honourably and comfortably in the 
world? some of whom have already been a consider- 
able help to the others, as well as to himself; and 
he has no reason to doubt the same of the rest, as 
soon as God shall enable them to do it ; and there 
are many gentlemen's families in England, who by 
the same method provide for their younger children. 
And he hardly thinks that there are many of greater 
estates, but would be glad to change the best of theirs 
or even all their stock, for almost the worst of his. 
Neither is he ashamed of claiming some merit in his 
having been so happy in breeding them up in his own 
principles and practices; not only the priests of his 
family, but all the rest, to a steady opposition and 
confederacy against all such as are avowed and de- 
clared enemies to God and his clergy; and who deny 
or disbelieve any articles of natural or revealed religion, 
as well as to such as are open or secret friends to the 
Great Rebellion; or to any such principles as do but 


squint towards the same practices ; so that he hopes 
they are all staunch high-church, and for inviolable 
passive obedience ; from which if any of them should 
be so wicked as to degenerate, he can't tell whether 
he could prevail with himself to give them his blessing ; 
though at the same time he almost equally abhors all 
servile submission to the greatest and most overgrown 
tool of state, whose avowed design it is to aggrandize 
his prince at the expense of the liberties and proper- 
ties of his free-born subjects. Thus much for John 
o' Styles' ecclesiastical and political crfed ; and, as he 
hopes, for those of his family. And as his adversary 
adds, that ' at his exit they could have nothing in view 
but distress; and that it is a black account, let the 
cause be folly or vanity, or ungovernable appetites ; ' 
John o' Styles answered: He has not the least doubt 
of God's provision for his family after his decease, if 
they continue in the way of righteousness, as well as 
for himself while he has been living. As for his folly, 
he owns he can hardly demur to the charge; for he 
fairly acknowledges he never was, nor ever will be, 
like the children of this world, who are accounted wise 
in their generation, in doting upon this world, courting 
this world, and regarding nothing else : not but that he 
has all his life laboured truly both with his hands, head, 
and heart, to provide things honest in the sight of all 
men ; to get Ms own living, and that of those who have 
been dependants on him. 

" As for his vanity, he challenges an instance to be 
given of any extravagance in any single branch of lis 
expenses, through the whole course of his life, either 
in dress, diet, horses, or recreation, or diversion, 
himself or family. 

236 op mr. wesiey's ancestors. 

" JJow if these, which are the main objections, are 
wiped off, what becomes of the black account, or of the 
worse than infidelity, which this- Severus Frater et Avun- 
culus Puerorum has in the plenitude of his power (as 
he takes upon himself to have the full power of the keys) 
urged, to exclude those who, for want of equal illumi- 
nation, or equal estates, think or act differently from 
himself, out of the kingdom of heaven ? 

" As for the plentiful estate, and great and generous 
benefactions, which he likewise mentions ; as to the 
latter of them, the person accused answered, that he 
could never acknowledge as he ought the goodness of 
God, and of his generous benefactors, on that occasion ; 
but hopes he may add, that he had never tasted so much 
of their kindness if they had not believed him to be an 
honest man. Thus much he said in general, but added 
as to particular instances, he should only add a blank 
balance, and leave it to any after his death, if they should 
think it worth while, to cast it up according to common 
equity, and" then they would be more proper judges 
whqfher he deserved those imputations which are now 
thrown upon him. 

"Imprimis. "When he first walked to Ox- 
ford, he had in cash .... £2 5 

"He lived there till he took his bachelor's 
degree, without any preferment or assistance, 
except one crown . . . . 5 

" By God's blessing on his own industry, 
he brought to London . . . . 10 15 

" When he came to London, he got dea- 
con's orders, and a cure, for which he had, 
for one year . . . . 28 


" In which year, for his board, ordination, 
and habit, he was indebted 30/., which he 
afterwards paid . . . . 30 

" Then he went to sea, where he had for 
one year 70/., not paid till two years after 
his return 70 

" He then got a curacy at 30/. per annum 
for two years, and by his own industry in 
writing, &c, he made it 60/. per annum . 120 

" He married, and had a son ; and he and his wife 
and child boarded for some years in or near London 
without running into debt. 

" He had then a living* given him in the country, let 
for 50/. per annum, where he had five children more ;t in 
which time, and while he lived in London, he wrote a 
book,:): which he dedicated to Queen Mary, who for that 
reason gave him a living in the country, || valued at 200/. 
per annum, where he remained for nearly forty years, 
and wherein his numerous offspring amounted with the 
former to eighteen or nineteen children. 

" Half of his parsonage-house was first burnt, which 
he rebuilt : sometime after, the whole was burnt to the 
ground, which he rebuilt from the foundations ; and it 
cost him above 400/., besides the furniture, none of which 
was saved ; and he was forced to renew it. 

"About ten years since § he got a little living adjoin- 

* South Ormsby. 
t Susannah, Emilia, Annesley, Jedidiah, and Susannah the 2nd. 

t The Life of Christ. • || Epworth. 

$ It is said by Dr. Whitehead that he got the living of Wroote, 
in 1723 ; but it appears from the letter to the Chancellor, p. 315, 
that it was 1725. If so, this letter must have been written bu' 

238 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

ing*"to his former ; the profits of which very little more 
than defrayed the expenses of serving it, and sometimes 
hardly so much; his whole tithe having been in a 
manner swept away by inundations, for which the 
parishioners had a brief, though he thought it not decent 
for himself to be joined with them in it. 

" For the greater part of these last ten years he has 
been closely employed in composing a large book,t 
whereby be hoped he might have done some benefit to 
the world, and in some measure amended his own for- 
tunes. By sticking so close to this, he has broke a pretty 
strong constitution, and fallen into the palsy and gout. 
Besides this, he has had sickness in his family for most 
of the years since he was married. 

" His greater living seldom cleared above eightscore 
pounds per annum, out of which he allowed 201. per 
annum to a personf who had married one of his daugh- 
ters. || Could we on the whole fix the balance, it would 
easily appear whether he had been an ill husband, or 
careless and idle, and taken no care of his family. Let 
us range on the one side his income, and on the other 
his expenses, while he has been at the top of his for- 
tunes, taking them at the full extent. 

few months prior to his death. Only twenty lines of this letter are 
in his own hand-writing. Mrs. Wesley has continued it to the end 
of the second paragraph on p. 236 ; and Mr. John Wesley has 
finished it as the principal amanuensis. For here it is evident, 
to use his own words, " Time had shaken him by the hand, and 
Death was not far behind." 

* Wroote. 

t Dissertationes in Librum Jobi. 

t Mr. Whitelamb. || Mary Wesley. 



' His income about £200 
per annum for near forty 
years 8000 



" Expended in sickness 
for above forty years . 

" Expenses in taking his 
livings, repairing the 
houses, &c. . . . 

" Rebuilding part of his 
house the first time 

" Rebuilding the whole 
house 400 

" Furnishing it ... . 

" Eight children bom and 

" Ten* (thank God !) liv- 
ing, brought up and 

"Most of the daughters 
. put out to a way of 

" To three sons + for the 
best education I could 

get them in England . 

" Attending the convoca 
tion, three years 


" Let all this be balanced, and then a guess may be 
easily made of his sorry management. 

" He can struggle with the world, but not with Pro- 
vidence ; nor can he resist sicknesses, fires, and inunda- 

In his family exigencies Mr. "Wesley was frequently 
obliged to borrow money ; but such was his character for 
probity, honour, and punctuality, that he could command 

* The ten then alive were Samuel, Emily, Mary, Ann, Susanna, 
John, Mehetabel, Matthew, Charles, and Kezziah. 
t Samuel, John, and Charles, these were the three. 



it wheresoever it was to be had. There was a man of 
considerable property in Epworth, who was in the habit 
of lending out money at 35 and 401. per cent. Mr. 
Wesley was obliged sometimes to borrow from this 
usurer; and although this man was devoured by the 
auri sacra fames, yet such was his esteem for an upright 
character, that in no case did he ever take from Mr. "W. 
more than legal interest for the use of his money. 

I need not tell the reader that the letter is a most 
complete and happy confutation of his brother's charges, 
and of those who have felt inclined to repeat them ; and 
when we consider his expenses and the numerous family 
he brought up, we may be well surprised how, with so 
small an annual income, he was able to meet and cover 
such great demands. He had spared neither pains nor 
cost on the education of his children. I have seen 
letters from most of them, full of mind and strong sense ; 
and the writing, especially that of the females, remark- 
ably correct and elegant. As to the three sons, Samuel, 
John, and Charles, we know the men and their education 
by their works. Some of the daughters were by no 
means inferior to the sons. 

From the preceding letter we see, that his church and 
state principles were of the highest order ; and that he 
was nevertheless an enemy to arbitrary power. Of the 
former, his whole life gave proof; of the latter, we have 
an instance in his refusal to read the declaration of King 
James II. in favour of popery. It may be necessary 
here to state, that the king, by the advice of Judge Jef- 
fries, had instituted a standing court of delegates, called 
" the Ecclesiastical Commission," the numbers of which 
were nominated by himself, and consisted indifferently 
of protestants and catholics. James, in furtherance of 
his design for the subversion of the established religion. 


and by virtue of the dispensing power decreed to him 
by the judges, issued his royal declaration, April 4th, 
1687) having in the preceding February granted a like 
act of grace to his Scottish subjects. This requisition 
was so generally repugnant to the great body of the 
clergy, that only about two hundred complied with it. 

The parliament resented this as a high violation of the 
laws ;. yet the dissenters took no warning, but embraced 
and defended the declaration under King James ; and 
one would almost stand amazed at their assurance, in 
accusing the clergy and universities of betraying the 
rights of the subject to that unfortunate prince, when all 
the world knows, that if they had not stood in the gap 
which the dissenters had made, though they did this 
with imminent hazard of all they had, by refusing to 
submit to the " Ecclesiastical Commission," or read the 
illegal declaration, neither we nor the dissenters should, 
in all probability, long ere this, have had any rights left 
to dispute about; but popery and absolute power had 
swallowed all, and effectually decided the controversy 
between us. 

Mr. "Wesley, in his reply to Palmer, p. 23, says, "What- 
ever guard the clergy and universities then had, it did 
not hinder them from being outed of their freeholds in 
considerable numbers, whereof I was a witness when at 
Oxford ; and almost all the ministers in England were 
within a few days of being suspended or deprived for 
not reading the declaration, which I have heard was pub- 
licly set up in a gold frame in one of the dissenters' 
meeting-houses. About the time of King James's decla- 
ration for indulgence, I know where there was a meeting 
of most of the dissenting ministers in and near London, 
to consult about it, and of their behaviour in so nice a 
juncture. The main debate was, whether address or not, 


242 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

with* thanks for the declaration. Some were against it, 
but the most were for it. The main reasons given 
against it were, that it would he an injury to the Esta- 
blishment, and was only designed to introduce popery. 
It was warmly answered, that the Church of England 
must now look to that herself, since she had formerly 
persecuted the dissenters. On the whole, it was carried 
by the majority, for addressing; and they did address 
accordingly, and disposed their people to do the same ; 
the effects whereof were sufficiently notorious to our own 
nation, and to all Europe." — Reply, pp. 63, 64. 

His son John has been heard to state, that at first his 
father was very much attached to the interests of James ; 
" but when," said old Mr. Samuel Wesley, " I heard 
him say to the master and fellows of Magdalen College, 
lifting up his lean arm, ' If you refuse to obey me, you 
shall feel the weight of a king's right hand,' I saw he 
was a tyrant ; and though I was not inclined to take an 
active part against him, I was resolved from that time to 
give him no kind of support." With this anecdote I 
was favoured by the reverend and venerable Thomas 
Stedman, late vicar of St. Chad's, Shrewsbury, to whose 
friendly and important communications these memoirs 
are in various places much indebted. 

To the circumstances above related, his son refers in 
the verses addressed to his aged father, and published in 
vol. i. of the Armin. Mag., p. 141 : — 

" No worldly views the real convert call ; 
He sought God's altar when it seemed to fall ; 
To Oxford hastened, even in dangerous days, 
When royal anger struck the fated place. 
When a (ting's fornd stretched out amazed they saw, 
And troops were ordered to supply the law ; 
Then luckless James possessed the British throne, 
And for the papal grandeur risked his own." 


Of this weak, superstitious, tyrannical monarch, we 
may say, as Louis XIV. did : " Poor fool, he lost three 
kingdoms for a mass!" 

Mr. Wesley fully expected that James would, if pos- 
sible, introduce arbitrary government into the state ; and 
popery, its concomitant, into the church. He saw, there- 
fore, the necessity of the revolution ; was confirmed in 
its principles ; and became strongly attached to King 
William, and was one of his chaplains. He left a re- 
markable memorial of his admiration of King William's 
character in one of his dissertations on the Book of Job ; 
where, in remarking on the description of the war-horse 
(chap, xxxix.), he introduces the deceased monarch as he 
appeared at the battle of the Boyne, in Ireland, July 1, 
1690 ; and, in both eloquent and affectionate language, 
points him out as the fittest hero to have managed the 
warlike animal just described. The compliment is the 
more honourable both to the bestower and the object, as 
dead monarchs can give no rewards, and as probably his 
memory was not remarkably grateful to those in power." 
This curious comparison, probably as being deemed use- 
less or irrelevant, was omitted by his son Samuel in pass- 
ing that sheet through the press. I thus conjecture, 
because I have not been able to find it in the work. 

It is a curious fact, that Mr. Wesley, wishing to have a 
true representation of the war-horse described by Job, 
hearing that Lord Oxford had one of the finest Arabs 
then supposed to be in the world, wrote to his lordship 
for permission to have his likeness taken for the work. 
That this request was granted there is little room to 
doubt ; and we may therefore safely conclude that the 
horse represented, Dissert., p. 338, engraved by Cole, 
was taken from what was called " Lord Oxford's Bloody 
Arab." The original letter containing the request lies 
m 2 


befofe me ; it is conceived with great delicacy of senti- 
ment, and is elegantly expressed : — 

"To my Lord of Oxford. 
" My Lord, 

" Your lordship's accumulated favours on my eldest 
son of Westminster are so far from discouraging me from 
asking one for myself of your lordship, that they rather 
excite me to do it, especially when your lordship has 
been always so great a patron of learning and all useful 
undertakings. I hope I may have some pretence to the 
latter, how little soever I may have to the former ; and 
have taken some pains in my dissertations on Job to 
illustrate the description of the horse, though it is im- 
possible to add any thing to it. For this reason, I would, 
if it were possible, procure a draft of the finest Arab 
horse in the world; and having had an account from 
several hands that your lordship's Bloody Arab answers 
the character, I have an ambition to get him drawn by 
the best artist we can find, and place him as the greatest 
ornament of my work. If your lordship has a picture 
of him I would beg that my engraver may take a draft 
from it j or if not, that my son may have the liberty to 
get one drawn from the life ; either of which will make 
him, if possible, as well as myself, yet more 

" Your lordship's most devoted 
" humble servant, 

"Samuel Wesley, Sen." 

Lord Oxford was the intimate friend of Samuel Wes- 
ley, jun., who was a frequent guest at his lordship's 
house, where he was treated with great distinction, as 
will appear in these Memoirs ; and there is little doubt 
that the son became the negociator of the father's re- 


quest. The horse in the Dissertations is evidently de- 
signed for an Arabian horse, and no doubt was taken 
from that of Lord Oxford ; but it is neither well drawn 
nor well engraved ; and this is the more to be regretted 
as the model was so perfect in its kind. 

That the rector of Epworth was under considerable 
obligations to the Earl of Oxford, appears from the 
dedication of his son Samuel's poems to that nobleman, 
where he remarks : — " 'Tis with reluctance I wave the 
mention of many personal obligations received from your 
lordship ; but I can by no means resist this opportunity 
of returning my acknowledgments on my father's ac- 
count, who is past expressing his own gratitude on earth, 
being now happy in that world which alone is worthy 
of him. Neither obscurity of condition, nor distance of 
place, could prevent your lordship from distinguishing 
and encouraging a worthy clergyman in his indefatigable 
searches after truth, and his unfashionable studies in 
divinity ; which perhaps might have been left un- 
finished without that encouragement. And it will be no 
small recommendation of the work itself, that its author 
was favoured and approved by an Earl of Oxford." I 
find his lordship's name among the subscribers for Job. 

Though Mr. "Wesley, sen. could not boast the munifi- 
cence, he possessed the esteem, of some of the first cha- 
racters in the nation : 

" Her gracious smiles not pious Anne denied ; 
And beauteous Mary blest him when she died." 

In the end of the year 1715, and the beginning of the 
year 1716, there were some strange disturbances in the 
parsonage-house at Epworth, of such a singular nature 
as entitles them to a distinct mention. The accounts 
given of these are so circumstantial and authentic as to 


entitle them to the most implicit credit. The eye and 
ear-witnesses were persons of strong understandings, and 
well-cultivated minds, untinctured by superstition, and 
in some instances rather sceptically inclined. Hearing 
of these things, Mr. Samuel Wesley, jun., then at West- 
minster school, wrote to his father, mother, and sisters, 
for the particulars ; and proposed such questions to them 
upon the subject as led them to use the utmost care, 
scrupulosity, and watchfulness, to prevent them from 
being imposed on by trick or fraud. Of the proceedings 
in this strange disturbance, Mr. Wesley, sen. kept a 
diary or journal ; and Mr. John Wesley had also a de- 
tailed account of the whole from the family. Nothing 
apparently preternatural can lie further beyond the verge 
of imposture than these accounts ; and the circumstan- 
tial statements contained in them force conviction of their 
truth even on the minds of the incredulous. That they 
were preternatural, the whole state of the case and sup- 
porting evidence seem to demonstrate. 

The documents to which I refer, and which are in- 
serted in their proper place, fell some how or other into 
the hands of the late Dr. Joseph Priestley, who thought 
proper to publish them in a pamphlet by themselves. 
He stated that he had received them from the late Mr. 
Badcock, to whom they had been communicated by 
Mrs. Earle, grand-daughter of Mr. Samuel Wesley, Mr. 
John Wesley's eldest brother. Mr. Badcock, in a letter to 
Mr. J. Wesley, from South Molton, Devon, dated April 22, 
1780, mentions these MSS., and his hope that he shall 
be able to procure and send them to Mr. W. Nothing 
farther concerning these papers was heard till Dr. 
Priestley laid them before the public. How he obtained 
these MSS., which Mr. Badcock had proposed, should 
he possess them, to deliver to Mr. John Wesley, is a 


question which cannot at present be answered, as all 
the parties are long since dead. This, however, does 
not affect the authenticity of these documents, which 
are admitted on all hands to be indisputably genuine. 

Disturbances supposed to be Preternatural, at the Par- 
sonage-house, in Epmorth. 



" From the first of December, my children and ser- 
vants heard many strange noises, groans, knockings, &c, 
in every story, and most of the rooms of my house. But 
I hearing nothing of it myself, they would not tell me 
for some time, because, according to the vulgar opinion, 
if it boded any ill to me, I could not hear it. When it 
increased, and the family could not easily conceal it, they 
told me of it. 

" My daughters, Susannah and Ann, were below stairs 
in the dining-room ; and heard, first at the doors, then 
over their heads, and the night after a knocking under 
their feet, though nobody was in the chambers or below 
them. The like they and my servants heard in both the 
kitchens, at the door against the partition, and over 
them. The maid-servant heard groans as of a dying 
man. My daughter Emilia, coming down stairs to draw 
up the clock and lock the doors at ten at night, as usual, 
heard under the staircase a sound among some bottles 
there, as if they had been all dashed to pieces; but 
when she looked, all was safe. 

" Something like the steps of a man was heard going 
up and down stairs, at all hours of the night, and vast 
rumblings below stairs, and in the garrets. My man, 

248 op mr. weslby's ancestors. 

who Illy in the garret, heard some one come slaring 
through the garret to his chamber, rattling by his side, 
as if against his shoes, though he had none there ; at 
other times walking up and down stairs, when all the 
house were in bed, and gobbling like a turkey-cock. 
Noises were heard in the nursery, and all the other 
chambers; knocking first at the feet of the bed and 
behind it ; and a sound like that of dancing in a matted 
chamber, next the nursery, when the door was locked, 
and nobody in it. 

"My wife would have persuaded them it was rats 
within doors, and some unlucky people knocking with- 
out; till at last we heard several loud knocks in our 
own chamber, on my side of the bed ; but till, I think, 
the 21st at night, I heard nothing of it. That night I 
was waked a little before one by nine distinct very loud 
knocks, which seemed to be in the nest room to ours, 
with a sort of a pause at every third stroke. I thought 
it might be somebody without the house ; and having 
got a stout mastiff, hoped he would soon rid me of it. 

" The next night I heard six knocks, but not so loud 
as the former. I know not whether it was in the morning 
after Sunday the 23rd, when about seven my daughter 
Emily called her mother into the nursery, and told her 
she might now hear the noises there. She went in, and 
heard it at the bedstead, then under the bed, then at the 
head of it. She knocked, and it answered her. She 
looked under the bed, and thought something ran from 
thence, but could not well tell of what shape, but 
thought it most like a badger. 

" The next night but one we were awaked about one 
by the noises, which were so violent, it was in vain to 
think of sleep while they continued. I rose, and my 
wife would rise with me. We went into every chamber, 
and down stairs; and generally as we went into one 


room we heard it in that behind us, though all the 
family had been in bed several hours. "When we were 
going down stairs, and at the bottom of them, we heard, 
as Emily had done before, a clashing among the bottles, 
as if they had been broke all to pieces, and another 
sound distinct from it, as if a peck of money had been 
thrown down before us. The same, three of my daugh- 
ters heard at another time. 

" We went through the hall into the kitchen, when 
our mastiff came whining to us, as he did always after 
the first night of its coming ; for then he barked vio- 
lently at it, but was silent afterwards, and seemed more 
afraid than any of the children. We still heard it rattle 
and thunder in every room above or behind us, locked 
as well as open, except my study, where as yet it never 
came. After two, we went to bed, and were pretty 
quiet the rest of the night. 

"Wednesday night, December 26, after or a little 
before ten, my daughter Emilia heard the signal of its 
beginning to play, with which she was perfectly ac- 
quainted ; it was like the strong winding up of a jack. 
She called us ; and I went into the nursery, where it 
used to be most violent. The rest of the children were 
asleep. It began with knocking in the kitchen under- 
neath, then seemed to be at the bed's feet, then under 
the bed, at last at the head of it. I went down stairs, 
and knocked with my stick against the joists of the 
kitchen. It answered me as often and as loud as I 
knocked; but then I knocked as I usually do at my 
door, 1 — 2 3 45 6 — 7 ; but this puzzled it, and it did 
not answer, or not in the same method; though the 
children heard it do the same exactly twice or thrice 

" I went up stairs, and found it still knocking hard, 

250 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

though with some respite, sometimes under the bed, 
sometimes at the bed's head. I observed my children 
that they were frighted in their sleep and trembled very 
much till it waked them. I stayed there alone, bid them 
go to sleep, and sat at the bed's feet by them, when the 
noise began again. I asked it what it was, and why it 
disturbed innocent children, and did not come to me 
in my study, if it had any thing to say to me. Soon 
after it gave one knock on the outside of the house 
(all the rest were within), arid knocked off for that night. 

" I went out of doors, sometimes alone, at others 
with company, and walked round the house, but could 
see or hear nothing. Several nights the latch of our 
lodging-chamber would be lifted up very often, when all 
were in bed. One night, when the noise was great in 
the kitchen, and on a deal partition, and the door in the 
yard, the latch whereof was often lifted up, my daughter 
Emilia went and held it fast on the inside : but it was 
still lifted up, and the door pushed violently against her, 
though nothing was to be seen on the outside. 

" "When we were at prayers, and came to the prayers 
for king George and the prince, it would make a great 
noise over our heads constantly, whence some of the 
family called it a Jacobite. I have been thrice pushed 
by an invisible power, once against the corner of my 
desk in the study, a second time against the door of the 
matted chamber, a third time against the right side of 
the frame of my study door, as I was going in. 

" I followed the noise into almost every room in the 
house, both by day and by night, with lights and with- 
out, and have sat alone for some time, and when I heard 
the noise, spoke to it to tell me what it was, but never 
heard any articulate voice, and only once or twice two or 
three feeble squeaks, a little louder than the chirping of 


a bird ; but not like the noise of rats, which I have often 

" I had designed on Friday, December 28, to make a 
visit to a friend, Mr. Downs, at Normandy, and stay 
some days with him ; but the noises were so boisterous 
on Thursday night, that I did not care to leave my 
family. So I went to Mr. Hoole, of Haxey, and desired 
his company on Friday night. He came ; and it began 
after ten, a little later than ordinary. The younger 
children were gone to bed, the rest of the family and 
Mr. Hoole were together in the matted chamber. I sent 
the servants down to fetch in some fuel, went with them, 
and staid in the kitchen till they came in. When they 
were gone, I heard loud noises against the doors and 
partition ; and at length the usual signal, though some- 
what after the time. I had never heard it before, but 
knew it by the description my daughter had given me. 
It was much like the turning about of a windmill when 
the wind changes. When the servants returned, I went 
up to the company, who had heard the other noises 
below, but not the signal. We heard all the knocking 
as usual, from one chamber to another, but at its going 
off, like the rubbing of a beast against the wall. From 
that time till January the 24th we were quiet. 

" Having received a letter from Samuel the day before 
relating to it, I read what I had written of it to my 
family ; and this day at morning prayer the family heard 
the usual knocks at the prayer for the king. At night 
they were more distinct, both in the prayer for the king, 
and that for the prince ; and one very loud knock at the 
amen was heard by my wife, and most of my children, 
at the inside of my bed. I heard nothing myself. After 
nine, Eobert Brown sitting alone by the fire in the back 
kitchen, something came out of the copper- hole like a 



rabbit, but less, and turned round five times very swiftly. 
Its ears lay flat upon its neck, and its little scut stood 
straight up. He ran after it with the tongs in his 
hands ; but when he could find nothing, he was frighted, 
and went to the maid in the parlour. 

" On Friday, the 25th, having prayers at church, I 
shortened, as usual, those in the family at morning, 
omitting the confession, absolution, and prayers for the 
king and prince. I observed, when this is done, there is 
no knocking. I therefore used them one morning for a 
trial; at the name of king George it began to knock, 
and did the same when I prayed for the prince. Two 
knocks I heard, but took no notice after prayers, till 
after all who were in the room, ten persons besides me, 
spoke of it, and said they heard it. No noise at all the 
rest of the prayers. 

" Sunday, January 27. Two soft strokes at the morn- 
ing prayers for king George, above stairs. 


" Friday, December 21. Knocking I heard first, I 
think, this night; to which disturbances, I hope, God 
will in his good time put an end. 

" Sunday, December 23. Not much disturbed with 
the noises, that are now grown customary to me. 

" Wednesday, December 26. Sat up to hear noises. 
Strange ! spoke to it, knocked off. 

" Friday 28. The noises very boisterous and disturb- 
ing this night. 

" Saturday 29. Not frighted with the continued dis- 
turbance of my family. 

" Tuesday, January 1, 1717- My family have had no 
disturbance since I went.' 


Narrative drawn up by Mr. John Wesley, and published 
by him in the Arminian Magazine. 

When I was very young, I heard several letters read, 
wrote to my elder brother by my father, giving an 
account of strange disturbances, which were in his house 
at Epworth, in Lincolnshire. 

When I went down thither, in the year 1720, I care- 
fully inquired into the particulars. I spoke to each of 
the persons who were then in the house, and took down 
what each could testify, of his or her own knowledge. 
The sum of which was this : 

On Dec. 2, 1716, while Robert Brown, my father's 
servant, was sitting with one of the maids a little before 
ten at night, in the dining-room which opened into the 
garden, they both heard one knocking at the door. 
Robert rose and opened it, but could see nobody. 
Quickly it knocked again, and groaned. " It is Mr. 
Turpine," said Robert ; " he has the stone, and uses to 
groan so." He opened the door again twice or thrice, 
the knocking being twice or thrice repeated ; but still 
seeing nothing, and being a little startled, they rose and 
went up to bed. When Robert came to the top of the 
garret stairs, he saw a handmill, which was at a little 
distance, whirled about very swiftly. When he related 
this, he said, " Nought vexed me, but that it was empty. 
I thought, if it had but been full of malt, he might have 
ground his heart out for me." When he was in bed, he 
heard as it were the gobbling of a turkey-cock close to 
the bed-side ; and soon after, the sound of one stumbling 
over his shoes and boots ; but there were none there, he 
had left them below. The next day, he and the maid 
related these things to the other maid, who laughed 
heartily, and said, " What a couple of fools are you ! I 

254 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

defy any thing to fright me." After churning in the 
evening, she put the hutter in the tray, and had no sooner 
carried it into the dairy, than she heard a knocking on 
the shelf where several puncheons of milk stood, first 
ahove the shelf, then below. She took the candle, and 
searched both above and below ; but being able to find 
nothing, threw down butter, tray, and all, and ran away 
for life. The next evening, between five and six o'clock, 
my sister Molly, then about twenty years of age, sitting 
in the dining-room reading, heard as if it were the door 
that led into the hall open, and a person walking in, that 
seemed to have on a silk night-gown, rustling and trail- 
ing along. It seemed to walk round her, then to the 
door, then round again ; but she could see nothing. 
She thought, " It signifies nothing to run away; for, 
whatever it is, it can run faster than me." So she rose, 
put her book under her arm, and walked slowly away. 
After supper, she was sitting with my sister Sukey (about 
a year older than her), in one of the chambers, and 
telling her what had happened ; she made quite light 
of it, telling her, " I wonder you are so easily frighted ; 
I would fain see what would fright me." Presently a 
knocking began under the table. She took the candle 
and looked, but could find nothing. Then the iron case- 
ment began to clatter, and the lid of a warming-pan. 
Next the latch of the door moved up and down without 
ceasing. She started up, leaped into the- bed without 
undressing, pulled the bed-clothes over her head, and 
never ventured to look up till next morning. A night 
or two after, my sister Hetty, a year younger than my 
sister Molly, was waiting as usual, between nine and ten, 
to take away my father's candle, when she heard one 
coming down the garret stairs, walking slowly by her, 
then going down the best stairs, then up the back stairs, 


and up the garret stairs ; and at every step it seemed 
trie house shook from top to bottom. Just then my 
father knocked. She went in. took his candle, and got 
to bed as fast as possible. In the morning she told 
this to my eldest sister, who told her, " You know I 
believe none of these things ; pray let me take away the 
candle to-night, and I will find out the trick." She ac- 
cordingly took my sister Hetty's place, and had no sooner 
taken away the candle than she heard a noise below. 
She hastened down stairs to the hall, where the noise was; 
but it was then in the kitchen. She ran into the kit- 
chen, where it was drumming on the inside of the screen. 
When she went round, it was drumming on the outside ; 
and so always on the side opposite to her. Then she 
heard a knocking at the back kitchen door. She ran to 
it, unlocked it softly, and when the knocking was re- 
peated, suddenly opened it ; but nothing was to be seen. 
As soon as she had shut it, the knocking began again. 
She opened it again, but could see nothing. When she 
went to shut the door, it was violently thrust against 
her; she let it fly open, but nothing appeared. She 
went again to shut it, and it was again thrust against her ; 
but she set her knee and her shoulder to the door, forced 
it to, and turned the key. Then the knocking began 
again ; but she let it go on, and went up to bed. How- 
ever, from that time she was thoroughly convinced that 
there was no imposture in the affair. 

The next morning, my sister telling my mother what 
had happened, she said, " If I hear any thing myself, 
I shall know how to judge." Soon after, she begged 
her to come into the nursery. She did, and heard in 
the corner of the room, as it were the violent rocking 
of a cradle ; but no cradle had been there for some 
years. She was convinced it was preternatural, and 

256 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

earnestly prayed it might not disturb her in her own 

chamber at the hours of retirement ; and it never did. 
She now thought it was proper to tell my father. But 
he was extremely angry, and said, " Sukey, I am ashamed 
of you : these boys and girls frighten one another ; but 
you are a woman of sense, and should know better. 
Let me hear of it no more." 

At six in the evening he had family prayers as usual. 
When he began the prayer for the king, a knocking be- 
gan all round the room ; and a thundering knock attended 
the Amen. The same was heard from this time every 
morning and evening, while the prayer for the king was 
repeated. As both my father and mother are now at 
rest, and incapable of being pained thereby, I think it my 
duty to furnish the serious reader with a key to this cir- 

The year before King William died, my father ob-» 
served my mother did not say Amen to the prayer for 
the King. She said she could not, for she did not be- 
lieve the Prince of Orange was king. He vowed he 
never would cohabit with her till she did. He then took 
his horse, and rode away ; nor did she hear any thing 
of him for a twelvemonth. He then came back, and 
lived with her as before. But I fear his vow was not 
forgotten before God. 

Being informed that Mr. Hoole, the vicar of Haxey 
(an eminently pious and sensible man), could give me 
some farther information, I walked over to him. He said, 
"Robert Brown came over to me, and told me your 
father desired my company. When I came, he gave me 
an account of all that had happened ; particularly the 
knocking during family prayer. But that evening (to 
my great satisfaction) we had no knocking at all. But 
between nine and ten a servant came in and said, ' Old 


Jeffrey is coming (that was the name of one that died 
in the house), for I hear the signal.' This, they inform 
me was heard every night ahout a quarter before ten. 
It was toward the top of the house on the outside, at the 
north-east corner, resembling the loud creaking of a saw ; 
or rather that of a windmill, when the body of it is 
turned about, in order to shift the sails to the wind. We 
then heard a knocking oyer our heads ; and Mr. Wesley, 
catching up a candle, said, ' Come, Sir, now you shall 
hear for yourself.' We went up stairs ; he with much 
hope, and I (to say the truth) with much fear. When 
we came into the nursery, it was knocking in the next 
room; when we were there, it was knocking in the 
nursery. And there it continued to knock, though we 
came in particularly at the head of the bed (which was 
of wood) in which Miss Hetty and two of her younger 
sisters lay. Mr. Wesley, observing that they were much 
affected, though asleep, sweating, and trembling exceed- 
ingly, was very angry ; and pulling out a pistol, was going 
to fire at the place from whence the sound came. But 
I catched him by the arm, and said, Sir, you are con- 
vinced this is something preternatural. If so, you cannot 
hurt it ; but you give it power to hurt you.' He then 
went close to the place, and said sternly, 'Thou deaf and 
dumb devil, why dost thou fright these children, that 
cannot answer for themselves? Come to me in my 
study that am a man !' Instantly it knocked his knock 
(the particular knock which he always used at the gate) 
as if it would shiver the board in pieces, and we heard 
nothing more that night." Till this time, my father had 
never heard the least disturbances in his study. But 
the next evening, as he attempted to go into his study 
(of which none had any key but himself), when he opened 
the door, it was thrust back with such violence, as had 

268 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

Ike toiave thrown him down. However, he thrust the 
door open, and went in. Presently there was knocking, 
first on one side, then on the other ; and after a time, 
in the next room, wherein my sister Nancy was. He 
went into that room, and (the noise continuing) adjured 
it to speak ; but in vain. He then said, " These spirits 
love darkness ; put out the candle, and perhaps it will 
speak." She did so ; and he repeated his adjuration ; 
but still there was only knocking, and no articulate 
sound. Upon this he said, " Nancy, two Christians are 
an overmatch for the devil. Go all of you down stairs ; 
it may be, when I am alone, he will have courage to 
speak." When she was gone, a thought came in, and 
he said, " If thou art the spirit of my son Samuel, I 
pray knock three knocks, and no more." Immediately 
all was silence ; and there was no more knocking at all 
that night. I asked my sister Nancy (then about fifteen 
years old) whether she was not afraid, when my father 
used that adjuration? She answered, she was sadly 
afraid it would speak, when she put out the candle ; but 
she was not at all afraid in the day-time, when it walked 
after her, as she swept the chambers, as it constantly 
did, and seemed to sweep after her ; only she thought 
he might have done it for her, and saved her the trouble. 
By this time all my sisters were so accustomed to these 
noises, that they gave them little disturbance. A gentle 
tapping at their bed-head . usually began between nine 
and ten at night. They then commonly said to each 
other, "Jeffrey is coming; it is time to go to sleep." 
And if they heard a noise in the day, and said to my 
youngest sister, "Hark, Kezzy, Jeffrey is knocking 
above," she would run up stairs, and pursue it from room 
to room, saying she desired no better diversion. 

A few nights after, my father and mother were just 


gone to bed, and the candle was not taken away, when 
they heard three blows, and a second, and a third three, 
as it were with a large oaken staff, struck upon a chest 
which stood by the bed-side. My father immediately 
arose, put on his night-gown, and hearing great noises 
below, took the candle, and went down ; my mother 
walked by his side. As they went down the broad stairs, 
they heard as if a vessel full of silver was poured upon 
my mothers breast, and ran jingling down to her feet. 
Quickly after there was a sound, as if a large iron ball 
was thrown among many bottles under the stairs; but 
nothing was hurt. Soon after, our large mastiff dog 
came and ran to shelter himself between them. While 
the disturbances continued, he used to bark and leap, 
and snap on one side and the other ; and that frequently 
before any person in the room heard any noise at all. 
But after two or three days, he used to tremble, and 
creep away before the noise began. And by this the 
family knew it was at hand ; nor did the observation 
ever fail. A little before my father and mother came into 
the hall, it seemed as if a very large coal was violently 
thrown upon the floor, and dashed all in pieces ; but 
nothing was seen. My father then cried out, " Sukey, 
do you not hear ? All the pewter is thrown about the 
kitchen." But when they looked, all the pewter stood 
in its place. There then was a loud knocking at the 
back-door. My father opened it, but saw nothing. It 
was then at the fore-door. He opened that, but it was 
still lost labour. After opening first the one, then the 
other, several times, he turned, and went up to bed. But 
the noises were so violent all over the house, that he 
could not sleep till four in the morning. 

Several gentlemen and clergymen now earnestly ad- 
vised my father to quit the house. But he constantly 

2,60 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

answered, " No ; let the devil flee from me ; I will never 
flee from the devil." But he wrote to my eldest brother 
at London to come down. He was preparing so to do, 
when another letter came, informing him the disturbances 
were over ; after they had continued (the latter part of 
the time day and night) from the second of December to 
the end of January. 


Letter I. — To Mr. Samuel Wesley, from his mother. 

" January 12, 1716-17- 
" Dear Sam, 

" This evening we were agreeably surprised with your 
packet, which brought the welcome news of your being 
alive, after we had been in the greatest panic imaginable, 
almost a month, thinking either you were dead, or one of 
your brothers had by some misfortune been killed. 

" The reason of our fears is as follows : On the first 
of December our maid heard at the door of the dining- 
room, several dismal groans, like a person in extremes, 
at the point of death. We gave little heed to her rela- 
tion and endeavoured to laugh her out of her fears. 
Some nights (two or three) after, several of the family 
heard a strange knocking in divers places, usually three 
or four knocks at a time, and then staid a little. This 
continued every night for a fortnight : sometimes it was 
in the garret, but most commonly in the nursery, or green 
chamber. We all heard it but your father, and I was 
not willing he should be informed of it, lest he should 
fancy it was against his own death, which indeed we all 
apprehended. But when it began to be so troublesome, 


both day and night, that few or none of the family durst 
be alone, I resolved to tell him of it, being minded he 
should speak to it. At first he would not believe but 
somebody did it to alarm us ; but the night after, as soon 
as he was in bed, it knocked loudly nine times, just by his 
bedside. He rose, and went to see if he could find out 
what it was, but could see nothing. Afterwards he 
heard it as the rest. 

" One night it made such a noise in the room over our 
heads as if several people were walking, then run up and 
down stairs, and was so outrageous that we thought the 
children would be frighted ; so your father and I rose, 
and went down in the dark to light a candle. Just as 
we came to the bottom of the broad stairs, having hold 
of each other, on my side there seemed as if somebody 
had emptied a bag of money at my feet; and on his, 
as if all the bottles under the stairs (which were many) 
had been dashed in a thousand pieces. We passed 
through the hall into the kitchen, and got a candle, and 
went to see the children, whom we found asleep. 

" The next night your father would get Mr. Hoole to 
lie at our house, and we all sat together till one or two 
o'clock in the morning, and heard the knocking as usual. 
Sometimes it would make a noise like the winding up of 
a jack ; at other times, as that night Mr. Hoole was with 
us, like a carpenter planing deals ; but most commonly 
it knocked thrice and stopped, and then thrice again, 
and so many hours together. We persuaded your father 
to speak, and try if any voice would be heard. One 
night, about six o'clock, he went into the nursery in the 
dark, and at first heard several deep groans, then knock- 
ing. He adjured it to speak, if it had power, and tell 
him why it troubled his house ; but no voice was heard; 
but it knocked thrice aloud. Then he Questioned it if 

262 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

it were Sammy; and bid it, if it were, and could not 

speak, knock again ; but it knocked no more that night, 
which made us hope it was not against your death. 

"Thus it continued till the 28th of December, when 
it loudly knocked (as your father used to do at the gate) 
in the nursery, and departed. "We have various conjec- 
tures what this may mean. For my own part, I fear 
nothing, now you are safe at London hitherto; and I hope 
God will still preserve you. Though sometimes I am 
inclined to think my brother is dead. Let me know 
your thoughts on it. 

"S. W." 

Letter II. — From Mr. S. Wesley to hit Father. 
" January 30, Saturday." 
" Honoured Sir, 
" My mother tells me a very strange sort of disturb- 
ances in your house. I wish I could have some more 
particulars from you. I would thank Mr. Hoole if he 
would favour me with a letter concerning it. Not that I 
want to be confirmed myself in the belief of it, but for 
any other person's satisfaction. My mother sends to me 
to know my thoughts of it, and I cannot think at all of 
any interpretation. "Wit, I fancy, might find many, but 
wisdom none. 

" Your dutiful and loving son, 

" S. Wesley." 

Letter III. — From Mr. S. Wesley to hit Mother. 

" Dear Mother, 
" Those who are so wise as not to believe any super- 
natural occurrences, though ever so well attested, could 
find a hundred questions to ask about those strange 
noises you wrote me an account of; but for my part, I 


know not what question to put, which, if answered, 
would confirm me more in the belief of what you tell 
me. Two or three I have heard from others. Was 
there never a new maid or man in the house that might 
play tricks? Was there nobody above in the garrets 
when the walking was there ? Did all the family hear 
it together when they were in one room, or at one time ? 
Did it seem to all to be in the same place, at the same 
time ? Could not cats, or rats, or dogs be the sprites 1 
Was the whole family asleep when my father and you 
went down stairs ? Such doubts as these being replied 
to, though they could not, as God himself assures us, 
convince them who believe not Moses and the Prophets, 
yet would strengthen such as do believe. As to my 
particular opinion concerning the events foreboded by 
these noises, I cannot, I must confess, form any. I 
think, since it was not permitted to speak, all guesses 
must be vain. The end of spirits' actions is yet more 
hidden than that of men, and even this latter puzzles 
the most subtle politicians. That we may be struck so 
as to prepare seriously for any ill, may, it is possible, be 
one design of Providence. It is surely our duty and 
wisdom to do so. 

" Dear mother, 

" I beg your blessing 
" on your dutiful and affectionate Son, 

"S. Wesley." 

Jan. 19, 1716-7, Saturday, 

Deans Yard, Westminster. 

" I expect a particular account from every one." 

264 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

Letter IV. — From Mrs. Wesley to her son Samuel. 

"Jan. 25 or 27, 1716-7. 

" Dear Sam, 

" Though I am not one of those that will believe 
nothing supernatural, but am rather inclined to think 
there would be frequent intercourse between good spirits 
and us, did not our deep lapse into sensuality prevent 
it ; yet I was a great while ere I could credit anything 
of what the children and servants reported concerning 
the noises they heard in several parts of our house. Nay, 
after I had heard them myself, I was willing to per- 
suade myself and them that it was only rats or weasels 
that disturbed us; and having been formerly troubled 
with rats, which were frighted away by sounding a horn. 
I caused a horn to be procured, and made them blow it 
all over the house. But from that night they began tc 
blow, the noises were more loud and distinct, both daj 
and night, than before ; and that night we rose and went 
down I was entirely convinced that it was beyond the 
power of any human creature to make such strange and 
various noises. 

" As to your questions, I will answer them particu- 
larly : but withal, I desire my answers may satisfy none 
but yourself; for I would not have the matter imparted 
to any. "We had both man and maid new this last Mar- 
tinmas, yet I do not believe either of them occasioned 
the disturbance, both for the reason above-mentioned, 
and because they were more affrighted than any bodj 
else. Besides, we have often heard the noises when they 
were in the room by us ; and the maid particularly was 
in such a panic that she was almost incapable of all 
business, nor durst ever go from one room to another, oi 
stay by herself a minute, after it began to be dark. 


"The man, Robert Brown, whom you well know, 
was most visited by it, lying in the garret, and has been 
often frighted down barefoot, and almost naked, not 
daring to stay alone to put on his clothes ; nor dp 1 
think, if he had power, he would be guilty of such 
villany. When the walking was heard in the garret, 
Robert was in bed in the next room, in a sleep so sound, 
that he never heard your father and me walk up and 
down, though we walked not softly I am sure. All the 
family has heard it together, in the same room, at the 
same time, particularly at family prayers. It always 
seemed to all present in the same place at the same 
time ; though often before any could say, It is here, it 
would remove to another place. 

! " All the family, as well as Robin, were asleep when 
your father and I went down stairs, nor did they wake 
in the nursery when we held the candle close by them ; 
only we observed that Hetty trembled exceedingly in 
her sleep, as she always did, before the noise awaked 
her. It commonly was nearer her than the rest, which 
she took notice of; and was much frightened, because 
she thought it had a particular spite at her. I could 
multiply particular instances, but I forbear. I believe 
your father will write to you about it shortly. What- 
ever may be the design of Providence in permitting these 
things, I cannot say. Secret things belong to God. But 
I entirely agre« with you, that it is our wisdom and duty 
to prepare seriously for all events. 

"S. Wesley." 

Letter V. — From Miss Susannah Wesley to her 
brother Samuel. 

" Epreorth, Jan. 24. 
" Dear Brother, 

266 op mb. wesley's ancestors. 

astonishing noise was heard by a maid-servant, as at th( 
dining-room door, which caused the up-starting of he: 
hair, and made her ears prick forth at an unusual rate 
She said it was like the groans of one expiring. Thes< 
so frighted her, that for a great while she durst not g< 
out of one room into another, after it began to be dark 
without company. But, to lay aside jesting, whicl 
should not be done in serious matters, I assure you tha 
from the first to the last of a lunar month, the groans 
squeaks, tinglings, and knockings, were frightful enough 

" Though it is needless for me to send you any ac 
count of what we all heard, my father himself haying i 
larger account of the matter than I am able to give 
which he designs to send you ; yet, in compliance wit! 
your desire, I will tell you, as briefly as I can, what 
heard of it. The first night I ever heard it, my siste 
Nancy and I were sitting in the dining-room. W 
heard something rush on the outside of the doors tha 
opened into the garden ; then three loud knocks, imme 
diately after other three, and in half a minute the sam 
number over our heads. We inquired whether anybod 
had been in the garden, or in the room above us ; bu 
there was nobody. Soon after, my sister Molly and ! 
were up after all the family were a-bed, except my siste 
Nancy, about some business. We heard three bouncinj 
thumps under our feet, which soon made us throw awa' 
our work, and tumble into bed ; afterwards, the tinglinj 
of the latch and warming pan ; and so it took its lean 
that night. 

" Soon after the above-mentioned, we heard a noise a 
if a great piece of sounding metal was thrown down oi 
the outside of our chamber. We, lying in the quietes 
part of the house, heard less than the rest for a pretfr 
while ; but the latter end of the night that Mr. Hooli 


sat up on, I lay in the nursery, where it was very violent. 
I then heard frequent knocks over and under the room 
where I lay, and at the children's bed-head, which was 
made of hoards. It seemed to rap against it very hard 
and loud, so that the bed shook under them. I heard 
something walk by my bed-side, like a man in a long 
night-gown. The knocks were so loud, that Mr. Hoole 
came out of his chamber to us. It still continued. My 
father spoke, but nothing answered. It ended that night 
with my father's particular knock, very fierce. 

" It is now pretty quiet ; only at our repeating the 
prayers for the king and prince, when it usually begins, 
especially when my father says, ' Our most gracious 
Sovereign Lord,' &c. This my father is angry at, and 
designs to say three instead of two for the royal family. 
We all heard the same noise, and at the same time, and 
as coming from the same place. To conclude this, it 
now makes its personal appearance : but of this more 
hereafter. Do not say one word of this to our folks, 
nor give the least hint, 
" Your sincere friend and affectionate sister, 

"Susannah Wesley." 

Letter VI. — Mr. S. Wesley in amrmr. 

" Dean's Yard, Feb. 9, 1716-17. 
" Dew Sister Sukey, 
" Your telling me the spirit has made its personal 
appearance, without saying how, or to whom, or when, 
or how long, has excited my curiosity very much. I 
long mightily for a farther account of every circum- 
stance by your next letter. Do not keep me any longer 
in the dark. Whv need vou write the less, because my 

268 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

ance continued since the 28th of December ? I under- 
stand my father did not hear it all ; but a fortnight aftei 
the rest. What did he say remarkable to any of you 
when he did hear it ? As to the devil's being an enemj 
to King George, were I the king myself, I should rathei 
old Nick should be my enemy, than my friend. I do 
not like the noise of the night-gown sweeping along the 
ground, nor its knocking like my father. Write when 
you receive this, though nobody else should, to youi 
loving brother, 

"8. W." 

Letter VII. — Mr. S. Wesley to his Mother. 

" Dear Mother, 

" You say you could multiply particular instances ol 
the spirit's noises ; but I want to know whether nothing 
was ever seen by any. For though it is hard to con- 
ceive, . nay, morally impossible, that the hearing, of so 
many people could be deceived, yet the truth will be 
still more manifest and undeniable, if it is grounded on 
the testimony of two senses. Has it never at all dis- 
turbed you since the 28th of December ? Did no cir- 
cumstance give any light into the design of the whole ? 
" Your obedient and loving son, 

"Feb. 12. «S. Wesley." 

" Have you dug in the place where the money seemed 
poured at your feet ?" 

Letter VIII.— Mr. S. Wesley to his Father. 
" Honoured Sir, 
" I have not yet received any answer to the letter I 
wrote some time ago ; and my mother in her last seems 
to say, that as yet I know but a very small part of the 


whole story of strange noises in our house. I shall be 
exceedingly glad to have the entire account from you. 
Whatever may be the main design of such wonders, I 
cannot think they were ever meant to be kept secret. If 
they bode anything remarkable to our family, I am sure 
I am a party concerned. 

" Your dutiful son, 
"■Feb. 12. "S. Wesley." 

Letter IX From Mr. S. Wesley to his sister Emily. 

" Dear Sister Emily, 
" I wish you would let me have a letter from you 
about the spirit, as indeed from every one of my sisters. 
I cannot think any of you very superstitious, unless you 
are much changed since I saw you. My sister Hetty, I 
find, was more particularly troubled. Let me know all. 
Did anything appear to her ? 

" Your affectionate brother, 
11 Feb. 12. "S. Wesley." 

Letter X. — From old Mr. Wesley to his son Samuel. 

Feb. 11, 171 6-7- 
"Dear Sam, 
"As for the noises, &c. in our family, I thank God we 
are now all quiet. There were some surprising circum- 
stances in that affair. Your mother has not written you 
a third part of it. When 1 see you here, you shall see 
the whole account, which I wrote down. It would 
make a glorious penny-book for Jack Dunton ; but while 
I live I am not ambitious for any thing of that nature. 
I think that's all, but blessings from 

" Your loving father, 

270 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

[TSe following letter was received at the same time, 
though it has no date.] 

Letter XI.— From Mm Emily Wetley to her brother 
" Dear Brother, 

" I thank you. for your last ; and shall give you what 
satisfaction is in my power, concerning what has hap- 
pened in our family. I am so far from being super- 
stitious, that I was too much inclined to infidelity ; so 
that I heartily rejoice at having such an opportunity of 
convincing myself, past doubt or scruple, of the existence 
of some beings besides those we see. A whole month 
was sufficient to convince any body of the reality of the 
thing, and to try all ways of discovering any trick, had 
it been possible for any such to have been used. I shall 
only tell you what I myself heard, and leave the rest to 

" My sisters in the paper chamber had heard noises, 
and told me of them ; but I did not much believe, till 
one night, about a week after the first groans were heard, 
which was the beginning, just after the clock had struck 
ten, I went down stairs to lock the doors, which I always 
do. Scarce had I got up the best stairs, when I heard a 
noise, like a person throwing down a vast coal in the 
middle of the fore kitchen, and all the splinters seemed 
to fly about from it. I was not much frighted, but went 
to my sister Sukey, and we together went all over the 
low rooms, but there was nothing out of order. 

" Our dog was fast asleep, and our only cat in the 
other end of the house. No sooner was I got up stairs, 
and undressing for bed, but I heard a noise among many 
bottles that stand under the best stairs, just like the 
throwing of a great stone among them, which had broke 


them all to pieces. This made me hasten to bed. But 
my sister Hetty, who sits always to wait on my father 
going to bed, was still sitting on the lowest step on the 
garret stairs, the door being shut at her back; when, soon 
after, there came down the stairs behind her something 
like a man, in a loose night-gown trailing after him, 
which made her fly rather than run to me in the 

" All this time we never told our father of it ; but 
soon after we did. He smiled, and gave no answer ; but 
was more careful than usual, from that time, to see us 
in bed, imagining it to be some of us young women 
that sat up late, and made a noise. His incredulity, and 
especially his imputing it to us, or our lovers, made me, 
I own, desirous of its continuance till he was convinced. 
As for my mother, she firmly believed it to be rats, and 
sent for a horn to blow them away. I laughed to think 
how wisely they were employed, who were striving half 
a day to fright away Jeffrey (for that name I gave it) 
with a horn. 

" But whatever it was, I perceived it could be made 
angry. For from that time it was so outrageous, there 
was no quiet for us after ten at night. I heard fre- 
quently, between ten and eleven, something like the quick 
winding up of a jack, at the corner of the room by my 
bed's head, just like the running of the wheels and the 
creaking of the iron-work. This was the common 
signal of its coming. Then it would knock on the floor 
three times, then at my sister's bed's head in the same 
room, almost always three together, and then stay. The 
sound was hollow and loud, so as none of us could ever 

"It would answer to my mother, if she stamped on 

tUtk fl/\M> 1-nA l*iA 14- T+ n^lJ 1~«~~1~ *..l*<vn T nrno 

272 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

putting the children to bed, just under me where I sat. 
One time, little Kezzy, pretending to scare Patty, as I 
was undressing them, stamped with her foot on the 
floor, and immediately it answered with three knocks, 
just in the same place. It was more loud and fierce, if 
any one said it was rats, or any thing natural. 

" I could tell you abundance more of it ; but the rest 
will write, and therefore it would be needless. I was 
not much frighted at first, and very little at last ; but it 
was never near me, except two or three times; and 
never followed me, as it did my sister Hetty. I have 
been with her when it has knocked under her; and when 
she has removed, it has followed, and still kept just 
under her feet, which was enough to terrify a stouter 

" If you would know my opinion of the reason of this, 
I shall briefly tell you. I believe it to be witchcraft, for 
these reasons. About a year since, there was a disturb- 
ance at a town near us, that was undoubtedly witches ; 
and if so near, why may they not reach us ? Then my 
father had for several Sundays before its coming preached 
warmly against consulting those that are called cunning 
men, which our people are given to ; and it had a par- 
ticular spite at my father. 

" Besides, something was thrice seen. The first time 
by my mother, under my sister's bed, like a badger, only 
without any head that was discernible. The same crea- 
ture was sat by the dining-room fire one evening ; when 
our man went into the room, it ran by him, through the 
hall, under the stairs. He followed with a candle, and 
searched, but it was departed. The last time he saw it 
in the kitchen, like a white rabbit, which seems likely 
to be some witch ; and I do so really believe it to be one, 
that I would venture to fire a pistol at it, if I saw it 


long enough. It has been heard by me and others since 
December. I have filled up all my room, and have only 
time to tell you, 

" I am, 
" Your loving sister, 

" Emilia Wesley." 

Letter XII. — Miss Susannah Wesley to her brother 

" March. 27. 
" Dear Brother Wesley, 
" I should farther satisfy you concerning the disturb- 
ances ; but it is needless, because my sisters Emilia and 
Hetty write so particularly about it. One thing I believe 
you do not know, that is, last Sunday, to my father's no 
small amazement, his trencher danced upon the table a 
pretty while, without any body's stirring the table ; when, 
lo ! an adventurous wretch took it up, and spoiled the 
sport, for it remained still ever after. How glad should 
I be to talk with you about it. Send me some news, for 
we are secluded from the sight or hearing of any versal 
thing except Jeffrey. 

"Susannah Wesley." 

A passage in a letter from my Mother to me, dated 

March 27, 1717- 
" I cannot imagine how you should be so curious about 
our unwelcome guest. For my part, I am quite tired 
with hearing. or speaking of it : but if you come among 
us, you will find enough to satisfy all your scruples, and 
perhaps may hear or see it yourself. 

" S. Wesley." 

274 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

A parage in a letter from my sister Emily to Mr. N 

Berry, dated April 1. 
" Tell my brother the sprite was with us last night, 
and heard by many of our family, especially by our 
maid and myself. She sat up with drink ; and it came 
just at one o'clock, and opened the dining-room door. 
After some time it shut again. She saw as well as heard 
it both shut and open ; then it began to knock as usual. 
But I dare write no longer, lest I should hear it. 

"Emilia "Wesley." 

My mother's account to Jack. 

"Auff.27, 1726. 

"About ten days after Nanny Marshall had heard 
unusual groans at the dining-room door, Emily came and 
told me that the servants and children had been several 
times frighted with strange groans and knockings about 
the house. I answered, that the rats John Maw had 
frightened from his house, by blowing a horn there, were 
come into ours, and ordered that one should be sent for. 
Molly was much displeased at it, and said, if it was any 
thing supernatural, it certainly would be very angry, and 
more troublesome. However, the horn was blown in 
the garrets ; and the effect was, that whereas before the 
noises were always in the night, from this time they were 
heard at all hours, day and night. 

" Soon after, about seven in the morning, Emily came 
and desired me to go into the nursery, where I should be 
convinced they were not startled at nothing. On my 
coming thither, I heard a knocking at the feet, and 
quickly after at the head, of the bed. I desired, if it was 
a spirit, it would answer me; and knocking several 
times with my foot on the ground, with several pauses, 
it repeated under the sole of my feet exactly the same 


number of strokes, with the very same intervals. Kezzy, 
then six or seven years old, said, Let it answer me too, 
if it can, and stamping, the same sounds were returned 
that she made, many times, successively. 

" Upon my looking under the bed, something ran out 
pretty much like a badger, and seemed to run directly 
under Emily's petticoats, who sat opposite to me on the 
other side. I went out; and one or two nights after, 
when we were just got to bed, I heard nine strokes, three 
by three, on the other side the bed, as if one had struck 
violently on a chest with a large stick. Mr. "Wesley 
leapt up, called Hetty, who alone was up in the house, 
and searched every room in the house, but to no purpose. 
It continued from this time to knock and groan fre- 
quently at all hours, day and night; only I earnestly 
desired it might not disturb me between five and six in 
the evening, and there never was any noise in my room 
after during that time. 

" At other times, I have often heard it over my mantle 
tree ; and once, coming up after dinner, a cradle seemed 
to be strongly rocked in my chamber. "When I went in, 
the sound seemed to be in the nursery. When I was in 
the nursery, it seemed in my chamber again. One night 
Mr. W. and I were waked by some one running down 
the garret stairs, then down the broad stairs, then up 
the narrow ones, then up the garret stairs, then down 
again, and so the same round. The rooms trembled as 
it passed along, and the doors shook exceedingly, so that 
the clattering of the latches was very loud. 

" Mr. W. proposing to rise, I rose with him, and went 
down the broad stairs, hand in hand, to light a candle. 
Near the foot of them, a large pot of money seemed to 
be poured out at my waist, and to run jingling down my 

276 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

noise as* of a vast stone thrown among several dozen of 
bottles which lay under the stairs ; but upon our looking, 
no hurt was done. In the hall the mastiff met us, 
crying and striving to get between us. We returned up 
into the nursery, where the noise was very great. The 
children were all asleep, but panting, trembling, and 
sweating extremely. 

" Shortly after, on Mr. Wesley's invitation, Mr. Hoole 
staid a night with us. As we were all sitting round the 
fire in the matted chamber, he asked whether that gentle 
knocking was it ? I told him yes ; and it continued the 
sound, which was much lower than usual. This was 
observable, that while we were talking loud in the same 
room, the noise, seemingly lower than any of our voices, 
was distinctly heard above them all. These were the 
most remarkable passages I remember, except such as 
were common to all the family. 

My sister Emily's account to Jack. 

"About a fortnight after the time when, as I was 
told, the noises were heard, I went from my mothers 
room, who was just gone to bed, to the best chamber, to 
fetch my sister Sukey's candle. When I was there, the 
windows and doors began to jar, and ring exceedingly ; 
and presently after I heard a sound in the kitchen, as if 
a vast stone coal had been thrown down, and smashed to 
pieces. I went down thither with my candle, and found 
nothing more than usual; but as I was going by the 
screen, something began knocking on the other side, 
just even with my head. When I looked on the inside, 
the knocking was on the outside of it ; but as soon as I 
could get round, it was at the inside again. I followed 
it to and fro several times ; till at last, finding it to no 
purpose, and turning about to go away, before I was out 


of the room, the latch of the back-kitchen door was 
lifted up many times. I opened the door and looked 
out, but could see nobody. I tried to shut the door, 
but it was thrust against me, and I could feel the latch, 
which I held in my hand, moving upwards at the same 
time. I looked out again; hut finding it was labour 
lost, clapped the door too, and locked it. Immediately 
the latch was moved strongly up and down ; but I left 
it, and went up the worst stairs, from whence I heard, 
as if a great stone had been thrown among the bottles 
which lay under the best stairs. However, I went to 

"From this time I heard it every night for two or 
three weeks. It continued a month in its full majesty, 
night and day. Then it intermitted a fortnight or more, 
and when it began again, it knocked only on nights, 
and grew less and less troublesome, till at last it went 
quite away. Towards the latter end, it used to knock 
on the outside of the house, and seemed farther and 
farther off, till it ceased to be heard at all." 

My sister Molly's account to Jack. 

" Aug. 27. 
" I have always thought it was in November, the rest 
of our family think it was the 1st of December, 1716, 
when Nanny Marshall, who had a bowl of butter in her 
hand, ran to me, and two or three more of my sisters, 
in the dining-room, and told us she had heard several 
groans in the hall, as of a dying man. We thought it 
was Mr. Turpine, who had the stone, and used some- 
times to come and see us. About a fortnight after, 
when my sister Sukey and I were going to bed, she told 
me how she was frightened in the dining-room, the day 
before, by a noise, first at the folding door, and then 

278 op mk. wesley's ancestors. 

over h%ad. I was reading at the table, and had scarce 
told her I believed nothing of it, when several knocks 
were given just under my feet. We both made haste 
into bed ; and just as we lay down, the warming-pan 
by the bedside jarred and rang, as did the latch of the 
door, which was lifted swiftly up and down. Presently 
a great chain seemed to fall on the outride of the door 
(we were in the best chamber), the door, latch, hinges, 
the warming-pan, and windows jarred, and the house 
shook from top to bottom. 

" A few days after, between five and six in the 
evening, I was by myself in the dining-room. The 
door seemed to open, though it was still shut; and 
somebody walked in, in a night-gown trailing upon the 
ground (nothing appearing), and seemed to go leisurely 
round me. I started up, and ran up stairs to my 
mother's chamber, and told the story t» her and my 
sister Emily. A few nights after, my father ordered me 
to light him to his study. Just as he had unlocked it, 
the latch was lifted up for him. The same (after we 
blew the horn) was often done to me, as well by day as 
by night. Of many other things all the family as well 
as me were witnesses. 

" My father went into the nursery from the matted 
chamber, where we were, by himself, in the dark. It 
knocked very loud on the press bed-head. He adjured 
it to tell him why it came, but it seemed to take no 
notice; at which he was very angry, spoke sharply, 
called it deaf and dumb devil, and repeated his adjura- 
tion. My sisters were terribly afraid it would speak. 
When he had done, it knocked his knock on the bed's 
head, so exceeding violently, as if it would break it to 
shivers ; and from that time we heard nothing till near 
a month after. 


My sister SuJcey'i account to Jack. 
" I bettered nothing of it till about a fortnight after 
the first noises ; then one night I sat up on purpose to 
hear it. While I was working in the best chamber, 
and earnestly desiring to hear it, a knocking began just 
under my feet. As I knew the room below was locked. 
I was frightened, and leaped into bed with all my 
clothes on. I afterwards heard as it were a great chain 
fall, and after some time the usual noises at all hours of 
the day and night. One night, hearing it was most 
violent in the nursery, I resolved to lie there. Late at 
night, several strong knocks were given on the two 
lowest steps of the garret stairs, which were close to the 
nursery door. The latch of the door then jarred, and 
seemed to be swiftly moved to and fro, and presently 
began knocking about a yard within the room on the 
floor. It then came gradually to sister Hetty's bed, who 
trembled strongly in her sleep. It beat very loud, three 
strokes at a time, on the bed's head. My father came, 
and adjured it to speak ; but it knocked on for some 
time, and then removed to the room over, where it 
knocked my father's knock on the ground, as if it would 
beat the house down. I had no mind to stay longer, 
but got up, and went to sister Em and my mother, who 
were in her room. From thence we heard the noises 
again from the nursery. I proposed playing a game at 
cards ; but we had scarce begun, when a knocking began 
under our feet. We left off playing, and it removed 
back again into the nursery, where it continued till 
towards morning. 

Sitter Nancy's account to Jack. 

"Sept 10. 
" The first noise my sister Nancy heard was in the 

280 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

best chamber, with my sister Molly and my sister Sukey, 
soon after my father had ordered her to blow a horn in 
the garrets, where it was knocking violently. She was 
terribly afraid, being obliged to go in the dark; and 
kneeling down on the stairs, desired that, as she acted 
not to please herself, it might have no power over her. 
As soon as she came into the room, the noise ceased, 
nor did it begin again till near ten : but then, and for a 
good while, it made much greater and more frequent 
noises than it had done before. When she afterwards 
came into the chamber in the day-time, it commonly 
walked after her from room to room. It followed her 
from one side of the bed to the other, and back again, 
as often as she went back ; and whatever she did which 
made any sort of noise, the same thing seemed just to 
be done behind her. 

" When five or six were set in the nursery together, 
a cradle would seem to be strongly rocked in the room 
over, though no cradle had ever been there. One night 
she was sitting on the press bed, playing at cards with 
some of my sisters, when my sisters Molly, Hetty, Patty, 
and Kezzy were in the room, and Robert Brown. The 
bed on which my sister Nancy sat was lifted up with 
her on it. She leaped down, and said, ' Surely old Jeffery 
would not run away with her.' However, they persuaded 
her to sit down again; which she had scarce done, when 
it was again lifted up several times successively a consi- 
derable height ; upon which she left her seat, and would 
not be prevailed upon to sit there any more. 

"Whenever they began to mention Mr. S., it pre- 
sently began to knock, and continued to do so till they 
changed the discourse. All the time my sister Sukey 
was writing her last letter to him, it made a very great 
noise all round the room; and the night after she set 


out for London, it knocked till morning with scarce any 

" Mr. Hoole read prayers once ; but it knocked as 
usual at the prayers for the king and prince. The 
knockings at those prayers were only towards the begin- 
ning of the disturbances, for a week or thereabouts." 

The Rev. Mr. Hoole's account. 

" Sept. 16. 
" As soon as I came to Epworth, Mr. Wesley telling 
me he sent for me to conjure, I knew not what he 
meant, till some of your sisters told me what had hap- 
pened, and that I was sent for to sit up. I expected 
every hour, it being then about noon, to hear something 
extraordinary, but to no purpose. At supper too, and 
at prayers, all was silent, contrary to custom ; but soon 
after, one of the maids, who went up to sheet a bed, 
brought the alarm, that JeiFery was come above stairs. 
We all went up, and as we were standing round the fire 
in the east chamber, something began knocking just on 
the other side of the wall, on the chimney-piece, as with 
a key. Presently the knocking was under our feet. 
Mr. Wesley and I went down, he with a great deal of 
hope, and I with fear. As soon as we were in the 
kitchen, the sound was above us, in the room we had 
left. We returned up the narrow stairs, and heard at 
the broad stairs' head some one slaring with their feet 
(all the family being now in bed beside us), and then 
trailing, as it were, and rustling with a silk night-gown. 
Quickly it was in the nursery, at the bed's head, knock- 
ing as it had done at first, three by three. Mr. Wesley 
spoke to it, and said he believed it was the devil ; and 
soon after, it knocked at the window, and changed its 
sound into one like the planing of boards. From thence 

282 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

it went on the outward south side of the house, sounding 
fainter and fainter, till it was heard no more. 

" I was at no other time than this during the noises 
at Epworth, and do not now remember any more cir- 
cumstances than these." 

Epworth, Sept. 1. 
" My sister Kezzy says she remembers nothing else, 
but that it knocked my father's knock, ready to beat the 
house down, in the nursery one night." 

Robin, Brown's account to Jack. 

" The first time Robin Brown, my fathers man, heard 
it, was when he was fetching down some corn from the 
garrets. Somewhat knocked on a door just by him, 
which made him run away down stairs. From that 
time it used frequently to visit him in bed, walking up 
the garret stairs, and in the garrets, like a man in jack- 
boots, with a night-gown trailing after him, then lifting 
up his latch and making it jar, and presently making a 
noise in his room like the gobbling of a turkey-cock, 
then stumbling over his shoes or boots by the bed-side. 
He was resolved once to be too hard for it, and so took 
a large mastiff we had just got to bed with him, and 
left his shoes and boots below stairs ; but he might as 
well have spared his labour, for it was exactly the 
same thing, whether any were there or no : the same 
sound was heard as if there had been forty pairs. The 
dog, indeed, was a great comfort to him ; for as soon as 
the latch began to jar, he crept into bed, made such an 
howling and barking together, in spite of all the man 
could do, that he alarmed most of the family. 

" Soon after, being grinding corn in the garrets, and 
happening to stop a little, the handle of the mill was 


turned round with great swiftness. He said nothing 
vexed him, but that the mill was empty ; if com had 
been in it, old Jeffery might hare ground his heart out 
for him ; he would never have disturbed him. 

" One night, being ill, he was leaning his head upon 
the back kitchen chimney (the jam he called it), with 
the tongs in his hands, when from behind the oven-stop, 
which lay by the fire, somewhat came out like a white 
rabbit. It turned round before him several times, and 
then ran to the same place again. He was frighted, 
started up, and ran with the tongs into the parlour 

"D. E., Eprvorth, Aug. 31. 

" Betty Massy one day came to me in the parlour, and 
asked me if I had heard old Jeffrey, for she said she 
thought there was no such thing. "When we had talked 
a little about it, I knocked three times with a reel I had 
in my hand against the dining-room ceiling, and the 
same were presently repeated. She desired me to knock 
so again, which I did; but they were answered with 
three more so violently as shook the house, though no 
one was in the chamber over us. She prayed me to 
knock no more, for fear it should come in to us. 

"Eprvorth, Aug. 31, 1726. 
" John and Kitty Maw, who lived over against us, 
listened several nights in the time of the disturbance, 
but could never hear any thing." 

Memorandum of Jack's. 

"The first time my mother ever heard any unusual 
noise at Epworth, was long before the disturbance of old 
Jeffrey. My brother, lately come from London, had one 

284 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

evening a sharp quarrel with my sister Sukey, at which 
time, my mother happening to be above in her own 
chamber, the doors and windows rang and jarred very 
loud, and presently several distinct strokes, three by three, 
were struck. From that night it never failed to give 
notice in much the same manner against any signal mis- 
fortune, or illness of any belonging to the family." 

Of the general circumstances which follow, most, if not all 
the family, were frequent witnesses. 

1. Presently after any noise was heard, the wind com- 
monly rose, and whistled very loud round the house, and 
increased with it. 

2. The signal was given, which my father likens to 
the turning round of a windmill when the wind changes ; 
Mr. Hoole (rector of Haxey), to the planing of deal 
boards ; my sister, to the swift winding up of a jack. It 
commonly began at the corner of the top of the nursery. 

3. Before it came into any room, the latches were fre- 
quently lifted up, the windows clattered, and whatever 
iron or brass was about the chamber rung and jarred 

4. When it was in any room, let them make what 
noise they would, as they sometimes did on purpose, 
its dead hollow note would be clearly heard above them 

5. It constantly knocked while the prayers for the 
king and prince were repeating ; and was plainly heard 
by all in the room but my father, and sometimes by him, 
as were also the thundering knocks at the amen. 

6. The sound very often seemed in the air in the 
middle of a room, nor could they ever make any such 
themselves by any contrivance. 


7. Though it seemed to rattle down the pewter, to clap 
the doors, draw the curtains, kick the man's shoes up 
and down, &c, yet it never moved any thing except the 
latches, otherwise than making it tremble ; unless once, 
when it threw open the nursery door. 

8. The mastiff, though he barked violently at it the 
first day he came, yet whenever it came after that, nay 
sometimes before the family perceived it, he ran whin- 
ing, or quite silent, to shelter himself behind some of the 

9. It never came by day, till my mother ordered the 
horn to be blown. 

10. After that time, scarce any one could go from one 
room into another, but the latch of the room they went 
to was lifted up before they touched it. 

11. It never came once into my father's study, till he 
talked to it sharply, called it deaf and dumb devil, and 
bid it cease to disturb the innocent children, and come to 
him in his study, if it had any thing to say to him. 

12. From the time of my mother's desiring it not to 
disturb her from five to six, it was never heard in her 
chamber from five till she came down stairs, nor at any 
other time when she was employed in devotion. 

13. Whether our clock went right or wrong, it always 
came, as near as could be guessed, when by the night it 
wanted a quarter to ten. 

The accounts in general agree as to the time of the 
commencement and cessation of these disturbances. 
They were first noticed December 1 or 2, 1716, and 
ceased at the end of January, 1717- But there is a fact 
of which all Mr. Wesley's biographers are ignorant, viz., 
that Jeffrey, as the spirit was called, continued to molest 

266 of me. Wesley's ancestors. 

some branches of the family for many years after. We 
have seen that Miss Emily "Wesley was the first who 
gave it the name Jeffrey, from an old man of that name 
who had died there ; and that she was more disturbed 
by it than any other of the family. I have an original 
letter of hers to her brother John, dated February 16, 
1750, thirty-four years after the time, as is generally 
supposed, that Jeffrey had discontinued his operations, in 
which he is named. Emily was now Mrs. Harper, having 
married a person of that name, an apothecary, who at 
first lived in Epworth, and afterwards in London, or near 
it ; and the letter is addressed to the Rev. Mr. John 
Wesley, Foundry. 

As some account of this lady shall be given in its 
proper place, I shall insert here only that part of her 
letter which refers to the above subject. 

"Feb. 16,1750. 
" Dear brother, 

• I want most sadly to see you, and talk some 

hours with you, as in times past Some things are too 
hard for me ; these I want you to solve. One doctrine 
of yours, and of many more, viz. : no happiness can be 
found in any or all things in this world ; that, as I have 
sixteen years of my own experience which lie flatly 
against it, I want to talk with you about it. Another 
thing is, that wonderful thing, called by us Jeffrey. 
You won't laugh at me for being superstitious, if I tell 
you how certainly that something calls on me against 
any extraordinary new affliction j but so little is known 
of the invisible world, that I, at least, am not able to 
judge whether it be a friendly or an evil spirit. I shall 
be glad to know from you where you live— where you 


may be found. If at the Foundry, assuredly, on foot or 
by coach, I shall visit my dear brother, and enjoy the 
very great blessing of some hours' converse. 
" Your really obliged friend and affectionate sister, 

" Emilia Harper." 

I find by a note on the back that Mr. Wesley answered 
this letter on the 18th, two days after ; but what he said 
on the subject is not recorded. This is the latest infor- 
mation I have concerning Jeffrey and his operations. It 
seems he came to Emily to give intimations of approach- 
ing afflictions or evils, just as Socrates informs us his 
demon was accustomed to apprise him of any evils that 
were about to happen. 

But who was this demon ? and what was the cause of 
his troubling this family ? 

We find that for a considerable time all the family 
believed it to be a trick ; but at last they were all satis- 
fied it was something supernatural. Some supposed it 
was a demon ; others, that the whole was the effect of 
witchcraft. Mr. John Wesley believed that it was a 
messenger of Satan, sent to buffet his father for his rash 
promise of leaving his family, and very improper con- 
duct to his wife in consequence of her scruple to pray 
for the prince of Orange as King of England ; to which 
title she fully believed he had no legal nor constitutional 
right. On which we find that he left her for a year, to 
the neglect both of his family and his church. That 
God should have resented this rash conduct is not to be 
wondered at ; but whether Jeffrey was the instrument of 
chastisement will be a question with many. With others, 
the house was considered as haunted. For this I have 
heard a reason assigned, which I shall introduce, be- 

288 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

cause it has been stated to me by respectable authority 
as a fact. 

" The family having retired one evening rather earlier 
than usual, one of the maids, who was finishing her work 
in the back kitchen, heard a noise, and presently saw a 
man working himself through a trough which commu- 
nicated between the sink-stone within, and the cistern 
on the outside of the house. Astonished and terrified 
beyond measure, she, in a sort of desperation, seized 
the cleaver, which lay on the sink-stone, and gave him 
a violent, and probably a mortal, blow on the head ; 
she then uttered a dismal shriek, and fell senseless on 
the floor. Mr. Wesley, being alarmed by the noise, sup- 
posing that the house was beset by robbers, rose up, 
caught up the fire-irons of his study, and began to throw 
them with violence on the stairs, calling out, Tom ! 
Jack ! Harry, &c, as loud as he could bawl ; designing 
thus to intimidate the robbers. Who the man was that 
received the blow, or who were his accomplices, was 
never discovered. His companions had carried him off ; 
footsteps and marks of blood were traced to some dis- 
tance, but not far enough to find who the villains were, 
nor from whence they came." 

I give this story just as I received it, which, though 
respectably related, I have not been able to trace to any 
authentic source. 

Dr. Priestley thinks the whole trick and imposture. 
It must be so on his system of materialism : but this 
does not solve the difficulty, it only cuts the knot. 

Mrs. Wesley's opinion was different from all the rest, 
and was probably the most correct ; she supposed that 
" these noises and disturbances portended the death of 
her brother, then abroad in the East India Company's 
service." This gentleman, who had acquired a large pro- 


perty, suddenly disappeared, and was never heard of more, 
at least as far as I can find, from the remaining branches 
of the family, or from any of the family documents. AH 
that can be learned of him will be found in connexion 
with his father, Dr. Annesley, in the succeeding pages. 

The story of the disturbances at the parsonage-house 
in Epworth is not unique ; I myself, and others of my 
particular acquaintances, were eye and ear-witnesses of 
transactions of a similar kind, which could never be 
traced to any source of trick or imposture, and appeared 
to be the forerunners of two very tragical events in the 
disturbed family ; after which no noise or disturbance 
ever took place. In the history of my own life I have 
related this matter in sufficient detail.* 

Dr. Priestley, who first published the preceding papers, + 
says of the whole story, that " it is perhaps the best au- 
thenticated and the best told story of the kind that is 
any where extant ; on which account, and to exercise 
the ingenuity of some speculative persons, he thought it 
not undeserving of being published."- — Preface, p. xi. 
After this concession, he then enters into a train of 
arguing, to show that there could be nothing supernatural 

• The " tragical events," together with their " forerunners," 
alluded to by Dr. Clarke, may be seen in " An Account of his 
Infancy, Religious and Literary Life," vol. i., pp. 71 — 77. — 

t The work to which the biographer here refers, is entitled, 
" Original Letters by the Rev. John Wesley, and his Friends, 
illustrative of his Early History, with other Curious Papers, com- 
municated by the late Rev. S. Badcock. To which is prefixed, 
An Address to the Methodists. By Joseph Priestley, LL.1J., 
F.R.S., &c. Birmingham, printed by Thomas Pearson, and sold 
by J. Johnson, St. Paul's Church- Yard. London, 1791, 8vo., 
pp. 170." — Editor. 


290 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

in i! ; for Dr. P., as a materialist, could give no credit 
to any account of angels, spirits, &c, the existence of 
which he did not credit ; and because he could see no 
good end to be answered by it, therefore he thinks he 
may safely conclude no miracle was wrought. Such 
argumentation can justify no man in disbelieving a story 
of this kind, told so circumstantially, and witnessed by 
such a number of persons, whose veracity was beyond 
doubt, and whose capability to judge between fact and 
fiction, trick and genuine operation, was beyond that 
of most persons, who, in any country or age, have come 
forward to give testimony on a subject of this nature. 
He at last gets rid of the whole matter thus : " What 
appears most probable, at this distance of time, in the 
present case, is, that it was a trick of the servants, assisted 
by some of their neighbours ; and that nothing was 
meant by it, besides puzzling the family, and amusing 
themselves ; and that such a secret should be kept, so 
that the matter was never discovered, is not at all to be 
wondered at." We can scarcely suppose that this mode 
of reasoning satisfied the mind of Dr. Priestley, else he 
must have been satisfied much more easily on a subject 
which struck at the vitals of his own system, than he 
would have been on any doctrine relative to philosophy 
and chemistry. He had Mrs. Wesley's letter before him, 
which stated that the servants could not be employed in 
the work for reasons which she there adduces; and 
especially, because those very servants were often in 
the room with themselves, when the disturbances were 
most rife. But all suppositions of this kind are com- 
pletely nullified by the preceding letter of Mrs. Harper 
(formerly Emilia Wesley), which states that even to 
thirty-four years afterwards, Jeffrey continued to molest 
her. Did her father's servants and the Epworth neigh- 


bours pursue her for thirty-four years through her various 
settlements, from 1716 to 1750, and were even at that 
time playing their pranks against her in London ? How 
ridiculous and absurd ! and this is the very best solution 
of these facts that Dr. Priestley could arrive at in de- 
ference to his system of materialism ! The letter of 
Mrs. Harper I consider of vast importance, as it removes 
the last subterfuge of determinate incredulity and false 
philosophy on this subject. 

A philosopher should not be satisfied with the reasons 
advanced by Dr. Priestley. He who will maintain his 
creed in opposition to his senses, and the most undis- 
guised testimony of the most respectable witnesses, had 
better at once, for his own credit's sake, throw the 
whole story in the region of doubt, where all such rela- 
tions, no matter how authenticated, 

" UpwbirI'd aloft, 
Fly o'er the back side of the^world far off, 
Into a limbus large and broad \" 

And instead of its being called the paradise of. fools, it 
may be styled the limbus of philosophic materialists, 
into which they hurry whatever they cannot compre- 
hend, choose not to believe, or please- to call superstitious 
and absurd. And they treat such matters so because 
they quadrate not with principles unfounded on the 
divine testimony, feebly supported by true philosophy. 
and contradictory to the plain, unbiassed, good common 
sense of nineteen-twentieths of mankind. 

But my business is to relate facts, of which the reader 
must make what use he chooses. 

It is now time to return more particularly to Mr. 
Wesley's personal history. 

When Mr. Pope solicited the interest of Dean Swift 



to procure subscribers for Mr. Wesley's Dissertations on 
the Book of Job, he called him a learned man; and 
from many evidences before me, I am led unhesitatingly 
to confirm this character. 

The rector of Epworth was a learned man, though 
he thought and spoke meanly of his own literary attain- 
ments. Independently of that classical learning which 
was common to the clergy of those times, he cultivated 
other branches with which the great .majority of them 
were unacquainted. One branch in particular, biblical 
criticism, which Dr. Owen had urged upon him, and 
which was then but little studied either in England or 
any other part of Europe ; and which, within a few 
years only, is become a certain science, formed on just 
principles, and subjected to consistent and unerring rules. 
The Holy Scriptures he had read with deep attention, in 
the Originals and principal Versions. These he had 
carefully compared by a judicious collation; and from 
this labour he drew conclusions at once instructive to 
others, and creditable to his own understanding. 

In his time that great and important work, the London 
Polyglott, was published, containing the original texts 
of the Old and New Testaments, Hebrew and Greek, 
with all the ancient Versions that were then known. 
The Samaritan on the Pentateuch ; the Syriac, Arabic, 
Chaldee, iEthiopic, including the Psalms and the New 
Testament ; the Persian on the Four Gospels ; the Sep- 
tuagint, and the Vulgate. All these, the Vulgate ex- 
cepted, which is in Latin, are accompanied with a Latin 
Version, correct enough for general use. The Text and 
Versions occupy five folio volumes. The sixth is a col- 
lection of various readings on the above Texts and Ver- 
sions. To these Dr. Edmund Castel added a Lexicon, 
in two volumes folio, of the Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, 


Arabic, iEthiopic, Samaritan, and Persian ; generally 
called, Castel's Heptaglott Lexicon. 

Of this work Mr. Wesley had a copy, which was un- 
happily destroyed in the burning of his house in 1709. 
How diligently he consulted this work, and how much 
he profited by it, his collation of all the above original 
Texts and Versions throughout the Book of Job testifies ; 
of which I shall speak more particularly when I come to 
that article. He was so satisfied of the great utility of 
this work to ministers, that we find he had projected an 
edition of the Holy Scriptures, including the original 
Texts and principal versions on a more contracted plan, 
and in a more portable form ; of which we have some 
account in a letter written to his son Jojbn at Oxford, 
when he had thoughts of entering into the work of the 

As this letter contains some judicious observations, 
and much wholesome advice, I will give it entire, as 
only some parts of it have been published ; first by Mr. 
Wesley in the Arminian Magazine, and secondly by Dr. 
Whitehead, in his life of Mr. Wesley. We shall see by 
it, as by several other evidences, that Mr. S. Wesley 
was a strict father, not to say rigid, inclining to severity. 
But if the rein he held was tight, his hand was steady, 
and the whip not in use. 

" Wroot, Jan. 26, 1724-5. 
" Dear son, 
" I am so well pleased with your present behaviour, 
or at least with your letters, that I hope I shall have no 
occasion to remember any more some things that are 
passed. And since you have now for some time bit 
upon the bridle, I'll take care hereafter to put a little 
honey upon it as oft as I am able. But then it shall be 

294 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

of my own mero motu, as the last 5 t0 was ; for I will 

bear no rivals in my kindness. 

"I did not forget you with Dr. Morley,* but have 
moved that way as much as possible ; though I must 
confess, hitherto, with no great prospect or hopes of suc- 

" As for what you mention of entering into holy or- 
ders, it is indeed a great work ; and I am pleased to find 
you think it so, as well as that you do not admire a 
callow clergyman any more than I do. 

" As for your motives you take notice of, my thoughts 
are : 1. It is no harm to desire getting into that office, 
even as Eli's sons, ' to eat a piece of bread ; ' for ' the 
labourer is worthy of his hire.' Though, 2. A desire 
and intention to lead a stricter life, and a belief one 
should do so, is a better reason ; though this should by all 
means be begun before, or else, ten to one, it will deceive 
us afterwards. 3. If a man be unwilling and undesirous 
to enter into orders, it is easy to guess whether he can 
say, so much as with common honesty, ' that he believes 
he is moved by the Holy Spirit to do it.' But, 4. The 
principal spring and motive, to which all the former 
should be only secondary, must certainly be the glory of 
God, and the service of his church, in the edification 
and salvation of our neighbour: and woe to him who 
with any meaner leading view, attempts so sacred a 
work. For which, 5. He should take all the care he 
possibly, can, with the advice of wiser and elder men, — 
especially imploring with all humility, sincerity, and in- 

* Dr. Morley was rector of Lincoln College ; and as Mr. John 
Wesley purposed to stand for a fellowship, he requested his father 
to use his interest with the doctor in reference to that event. The 
next year he stood, and succeeded. 


tention of mind, and with fasting and prayer, the direc- 
tion and assistance of Almighty God and his Holy 
Spirit, — to qualify and prepare himself for it. 

" The knowledge of the languages is a very consider- 
ahle help in this matter, which, I thank God, all my 
three sons have to a very laudable degree, though God 
knows I had, never more than a smattering of any of 
them. But then this must be prosecuted to the thorough 
understanding the original text of the Scriptures, by con- 
stant and long conversing with them. 

" You ask me which is the best commentary on the 
Bible ? I answer, the Bible ; for the several paraphrases 
and translations of it in the Polyglott, compared with 
the original and with one another, are, in my opinion, to 
an honest, devout, industrious, and humble mind, infi- 
nitely preferable to any commentary I ever saw wrote 
upon it, though Grotius is the best (for the most part), 
especially on the Old Testament. 

" And now, the providence of God (I hope it was) has 
engaged me in such a work, wherein you may be very 
assistant to me, I trust promote his glory, and at the 
same time notably forward your own studies in the 
method I have just now proposed; for I have some 
time since designed an edition of the Holy Bible, in 
octavo, in the Hebrew, Chaldee, Seventy, and Vulgar 
Latin, and hope made some progress in it : the whole 
scheme whereof I have not time at present to give you, 
of which scarce any soul yet knows except your brother- 

" What I desire of you on this article is, 1. That you 
would immediately fall to work ; read diligently the He- 
brew text in the Polyglott, and collate it exactly with 
the Vulgar Latin, which is in the second column, writing 
down all (even the least) variations or differences be- 

296 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

tween them. To these I would have you add the Sa- 
maritan text, in the last column but one (do not mind 
the Latin translation in the very last column), which is 
the very same with the Hebrew, except in some very 
few places, only differing in the Samaritan character (I 
think the true Old Hebrew), the alphabet whereof you 
may learn in a day's time, either from the Prolegomena* 
in Walton's Polyglott, or from his grammar. In a 
twelvemonth's time, sticking close to it, in the forenoons, 
you will get twice through the Pentateuch ; for I have 
done it four times the last year, and am going over it 
the fifth ; collating the Hebrew and two Greek, the 
Alexandrian and the Vatican, with what I can get of 
Symmachus and Theodotion, &c. Nor shall you lose 
your reward for it, either in this or the other world. 
Nor are your brothers like to be idle. But I would have 
nothing said of it to any body, though your brother Sam 
shall write to you shortly about it. 

" In the afternoon read what you will ; and be sure to 
walk an hour, if fair, in the fields. Get Thirlby's Chry- 
sostom De Sacerdotio; master it, — digest it. I took some 
pains, a year or two since, in drawing up some advices to 
Mr. Hoole's brother, then to be my curate at Epworth, 
before his ordination, which may not be unuseful to 
you ;* therefore I will send them shortly to your brother 

* It is in all probability to this work that Mr. Whitfield re 
fers, when, in a letter to Mr. John Wesley, whom he honours as 
his " spiritual father," he says, " I received benefit by your father's 
advice to a young clergyman." The letter is dated April, 1737, 
and is to be found in the Meth. Mag., Vol. XXI., p. 359. 

Somewhat different from the work here alluded to, is another, 
for the use of ministers, which is supposed to have proceeded from 
the pen of the rector of Epworth. A literary friend remarks to the 
writer of this note, " I have lately perused a work, entitled, ' The 


Sam for you : but you must return me them again, I 
having no copy; and pray let none but yourself see 

" By all this you see I am not for your going over- 

hastily into orders. When I am for your taking them, 

you shall know it ; and it is not impossible but I may 

be with you, if God so long spare the life and health of 

" Your aifectionate father, 

" Sam. "Wesley." 

Clergyman's Vade Mecum,' which I am inclined to believe was 
compiled by Samuel Wesley, the elder. The fifth edition was pub- 
lished in 1722 ; the sixth, in 1731. I adduce the following rea- 
sons in support of my opinion. 1. The style and sarcastic wit are 
peculiarly his own. 2. The work was printed for Robert Kreap- 
lock, his own publisher. 3. He quotes chiefly from John de Athon, 
who was a prebendary of Lincoln, in the 14th century, and says, 
' Upon perusal of the registry at Lincoln, I find,' &c. Observe, 
this was the diocese to which Wesley belonged, and he corre- 
sponded very freely with Dr. Reinold, who was then the bishop of 
it. 4. He dwells largely on convocations, and suggests several 
improvements in the Spiritual Courts, — a favourite subject in his 
' Reply to Palmer.' In a note, p. 188, he remarks, ' Solemn pe- 
nance was performed only in Lent, with a white sheet and bare 
feet ; this none hut the ordinary could enjoin.' Dr. Clarke showed 
me once some cases of individuals who had done this penance in 
Epworth Church, and which I hope he has introduced into his 
work on the ' Wesley Family.' Take a specimen of his wit : 
' In times of popery the clergy were rewarded for their pious 
frauds with a double portion of wealth and honour ; but since the 
reformation, for telling plain truth they have been requited with 
poverty and contempt. I don't remember any temporal advantage 
that the clergy have gained in these last ages, excepting that of 
wives. But as by this means the clergyman's family has been en- 
larged, so there has been very little done to enable him to main- 
tain it, except by some private benefactions," p. 313. Connect 
with these sentiments the rector's domestic circumstances, and 
they will he found purely Wesleyan. — Editor. 

298 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

" I like your verses on the lxvth Psalm, and would 
not have you to bury your talent. All are well, and 
send duties. 

" Work and write while you can. You see Time has 
shaken me by the hand, and Death is hut a little behind 
him. My eyes and heart are now almost all I have left ; 
and bless God for them." 

"What the full nature and extent of the scheme re- 
ferred to above was, I have not been able to find out. It 
seems he had intended a copious list of various readings ; 
and intended particularly to show how the Vulgate Ver- 
sion (proposed by St. Jerome to be taken from the He- 
brew text) differed from the original; and how the 
Alexandrian and Vatican copies of the Septuagint dif- 
fered from each other ; and also to point out the varia- 
tions between them and the ancient Greek Versions of 
Symmachus and Theodotion, together with the other 
existing fragments of the Hexapla of Origen. He ap- 
pears to have intended also to show the variations be- 
tween the Hebrew and Samaritan Pentateuch. He tells 
us he had in the space of one year gone four times 
through the Pentateuch. By this I suppose he meant, 
reading — 1. The Hebrew text ; 2. The Chaldeee para- 
phrases of Ben Uzziel and Onkelos ; 3. The Septuagint ; 
and, 4. The Vulgate. And to read each of those criti- 
cally, and the whole in twelve months, was no mean 
labour. * 

* The Hebrew Bible used by the rector of Epworth was a copy 
of the second edition of Sebastian Minister's, printed at Basil, 
1546, folio ; and in it, relative to the above fact, I find the follow- 
ing entry in his own hand-writing, both at the beginning and end 
of the Pentateuch. " In nom. Dora. 7'. 25. 1724. Bis Penta- 
teuohum per legi, et xara pri/m comparavi. Et hodie, 3'° incipio. 


This scheme would have wanted nothing for general 
utility had it included the Syriac of the Old and New 
Testaments, and particularly of the latter. A work of 
this kind, even now, would be of the utmost consequence 
to biblical students. What became of the preparations 
for this promising work I liave not been able to learn, 
any more than of the full extent of his scheme. He 
and his three sons were amply qualified for the under- 

On a plan nearly similar to that projected by Mr. 
Samuel Wesley, Mr. S. Bagster, of Paternoster Row, 

4"° Feb. 8, 1724-25. 5">. . . ." From this entry we find that he 
had read over the Pentateuch twice by Sep. 25, 1724, and began 
the third reading the same day ; and that he had finished the fourth 
reading on Feb. 6, 1725 : and about the 8th of the same month 
had commenced the fifth reading ; and all this he did, comparing 
the original texts, as he says, x«ot pv/tx, word for word. This col- 
lation, which was done at Wroot, exists in the margin of the copy 
of Munster's Bible which I have already mentioned, and is one 
of the most curious specimens of careful, laborious, and accurate 
criticism I have ever seen. The work, which is only the first volume, 
was furnished to me by a friend who is now with God ; and I shall 
take care that the book be deposited in the archives of the Method- 
ists' Conference, as a monument of the learning and industry of the 
rector of Epworth. 

[This volume has also the autograph of " John Wesley," into 
whose hands it probably fell after his father's death. It comprises 
the sacred text from Genesis to Kings. As Dr. Clarke's intention 
to leave the volume to the Wesleyan Conference was probably not 
known to his family, it was placed in the sale catalogue of his 
library after his decease, and stood lot 404, for the " Second Day's 
Sale." On that day, Feb. 19, 1833, it was knocked down to T. 
Marriott, Esq., for two guineas ! It was subsequently purchased 
by the publishers of this work, and finally presented to the writer 
of this note, who has taken care to secure it to the Wesleyan Me- 
thodist Conference. — Editor.] 



London^ has published a Polyglott, in a 4to., 8vo., and 
12mo. size. The Old Testament comprises, at one view, 
1. The Hebrew text, with points ; 2. The authorised 
English Version, with various readings and parallel texts ; 
3. The Greek Version of the Seventy ; and 4. The Vul- 
gate Latin. The New Testament comprehends, 1. The 
Greek text ; 2. The ancient Syriac ; 3. The Latin Vul- 
gate ; and 4. The authorized English Version as above. 
Some other letters, which have survived the destruction 
of many Wesleyan documents, may be here introduced. 

" Wroot, June 26, 1727- 
" Dear son John, 

" I do'nt think I've yet thanked you enough for your 
kind and dutiful letter of the 14th inst., which I re- 
ceived at Bawtrey, last Wednesday, and answered there 
in a hurry ; yet, on reflection, I see no reason to alter my 
mind much as to what I then writ ; but if you had any 
prospect of doing good on your pupil, should have been 
pleased with your attempting it sometime longer. If 
that is past, or hopeless, there's an end of that matter. 

" When you come hither, after having taken care of 
Charterhouse, and your own rector, your head-quarters 
will, I believe, be for the most part at Wroot, as mine, if 
I can, at Epworth, though sometimes making an ex- 
change. The truth is, I am hipp'd (with an i) by my 
voyage and journey to and from Epworth last Sunday ; 
being lamed with having my breeches too full of water, 
partly with a downfal from a thunder shower, and 
partly from the wash over the boat. Yet, I thank God, 
I was able to preach here in the afternoon, and was as 
well this morning as ever, except a little pain and lame- 
ness, both which I hope to wash off with an hair of the 
same dog this evening. 


" I wish the rain had not reached us on this side 
Lincoln ; but we have it so continual that we have 
scarce one bank left, and I can't possibly have one 
quarter of oats in all the levels ; but, thanks be to God, 
the field-barley and rye are good. We can neither go 
a foot, or horseback, to Epworth, but only by boat as far 
as Scawsit Bridge, and then walk over the common, 
though I hope it will be soon better. I would gladly 
send horses, but don't think I've now any that would 
perform the journey; for, 1. My Filley has scarcely re- 
covered from the last, and I question if she ever will. 
However, I've turned her up to the wagon, and very 
seldom ride her. 2. Mettle is almost blind. 3. Your 
favourite Two-eyed-nag they have taken to swing in 
the back, and he's never like to be good for riding any 
more. 4. And Bounce, and your mother's nag, you 
know. - Therefore, if you can get a pretty strong horse, 
not over fine, nor old, nor fat, I think it would improve, 
especially in summer, and be worth your while. I would 
send as far as Nottingham to meet you, but would have 
your studies as little intermitted as possible, and hope I 
shall do a month or two longer, as I'm sure I ought to 
do all I can both for God's family and my own ; and 
when I find it sinks me, or perhaps a little before, I'll 
certainly send you word, with about a fortnight's notice ; 
and in the mean time sending you my blessing, as being 
" Your loving father, 

" Sam. Wesley." 

" P. S.— Dear Charles, 

" Were I you, it should go hard but I'd get one of the 
Blenheim prizes — Thomas calls — Good night to you." 

302 op mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

" Wroot, June 26, 1727. 
" I promise to pay £10 per ann. (at the least) to my 
son, Charles Wesley, of Christchurch, Oxon, at every 
May-day, commencing at May-day next for this present 

" Sam. Wesley, Sen." 

" Wroot, July 18, 1727. 
" Dear son John, 

"We received, last post, your compliments of con- 
dolence and congratulation to your mother on the sup- 
position of her near approaching demise ; to which your 
sister Patty will by no means subscribe, for she says she 
is not so good a philosopher as you are, and that she 
can't spare her mother yet, if it please God, without 
very great inconveniency. 

" And indeed, though she has now and then some 
very sick fits, yet I hope the sight of you would revive 
her. However, when you come you will see a new face 
of things, my family being now pretty well colonized, 
and all perfect harmony ; much happier in no small 
straits, than perhaps we ever were before in our greatest 
affluence; and you'll find a servant that will make us 
rich, if God gives us any thing to work upon. I know 
not but it may be this prospect, together with my easi- 
ness in my family, which keeps my spirits from sinking, 
though they tell me I've lost some of my tallow between 
Wroot and Epworth ; but that I don't value, as long as 
I've strength still left to perform my office. 

" If Charles can get to London, I believe Hardsley, at 
the Red Lion, Aldersgate-street, might procure him a 
horse as reasonably as any, to ride along with you to 
Lincoln (city), and direct him where to leave it there 


with the earrier to return, which will be the cheapest 
and the safest way ; and Til warrant you will find means 
to bring Charles up again. Your own best way, as in 
my last, will be to buy a horse for yourself, for the 
reasons I then told you. I'm weary, but 

" Your loving father, 

" Sam. Wesley." 

" Wroot, July 18, 172?. 
" Dear Charles, 

" I told you the Chaldee would be easy (Scaliger says 
the Ethiopic is but a dialect of it) ; so will the Syriac ; 
and even the Arabic, as soon as you can crack it, and I 
believe pleasanter as well as richer than all the rest. 
And I doubt not but he that's master of the Hebrew 
may soon conquer all the others, which will both receive 
it, and give light to each other, especially (as I've heard) 
the Arabic, whereof I question whether it be ever ex- 
haustible, and which is yet spoken and writ from the 
hills of Granada to the uttermost easterly bounds of the 
world. I have a sample of it for you here, if you are 
got so far, in a specimen of the Arabic Testament, and 
have picked out a pretty many words in Job, which the 
commentators say are of one of those three languages, 
wherein your assistance will do me a great pleasure. If 
you can get the Oxford edition of Tacitus's Annals, tran- 
scribe the passage in the sixth book concerning the 
Phoenix, and the annotations upon it, and be so kind as 
to bring them with you. 

"I've writ on the other side, to your brother, my 
thoughts of the best way of your coming, and the sooner 
the better ; but you'll send word by post the day we must 
send for you to Lincoln. I heartily wish I could as 

304 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

well send you both a viaticum, as I do my best blessings. 

" Your affectionate father, 

"Sam. Wesley." 

Mr. Wesley thought himself, at the time he wrote one 
of the preceding letters, near the grave ; his right hand 
was palsied, and he had other infirmities: but he lived 
rather more than ten years after the date of this letter. 

In the course of the summer, he again writes; and 
as his letters embrace subjects which have excited gene- 
ral interest, they may here be introduced : — 

" Wroot, July 14, 1725. 
" Dear Son, 
" As for Thomas a Kempis, all the world are apt to 
strain either on one side or the other. And 'tis no 
wonder if contemplative men, especially when wrapt in 
a cowl, and the darkness of the mystic divinity, when 
they observed the bulk of the world so mad for sensual 
pleasures, should run into the contrary extreme, and 
attempt to persuade us to have no senses at all, and that 
God made them to very little purpose. But for all that, 
mortification is still an indispensable Christian dut}-. 
The world is a syren, and we must have a care of her. 
And if the young man will rejoice in his youth, yet let 
him take care that his joys be innocent ; and in order to 
this remember, that for all these things God will bring 
him into judgment. I have only this to add of my 
friend and old companion, that, making some grains of 
allowance, he may be read to great advantage ; nay, that 
'tis almost impossible to peruse him seriously, without 
admiring, and I think in some measure imitating, his 
heroic strains of humility, piety, and devotion." 


Again : — 

" Wroot, Oct. 19, 1725. 
" Dear Son, 

" You seem staggered at the severe words in the Atha- 
nasian creed. Consider, their point is levelled against, 
only against, ohstinate heretics. A distinction is un- 
doubtedly to be made, between what is wilful, and what 
is in some measure involuntary. God certainly will make 
a difference. We don't so well know it. "We therefore 
must leave that to him, and keep to the rule which he 
has given. 

" As to the main of the cause, the best way to deal 
with our adversaries is to turn the war and their own 
vaunted arms against them. From balancing the schemes, 
it will appear, that there are many irreconcileable absurd- 
ities and contradictions in theirs ; but none such (though 
indeed some difficulties) in ours. To instance in one of 
a side : they can never prove a contradiction in our 
Three and One, unless we affirm them to be so in the 
same respect ; which every child knows we do not. But 
we can prove there is one in a creature's being a Creator, 
which they assert of our Lord." 

I have already mentioned Mr. John Wesley's standing 
for a fellowship in Lincoln college, and succeeding ; at 
this his father greatly rejoiced, as we may see from the 
following letter, which shows also the straitness of family 
circumstances with which this excellent man had always 
to contend, while endeavouring to bring up a large family, 
and educate them in such a way as to qualify them for 
gaining their bread in respectable and useful situations. 

306 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

" Wroot, April 1, 1726. 
" Dear son John, 

" I had both yours since your election : in both you 
express yourself as becomes you, for what I had wil- 
lingly, though with much greater difficulty than you 
imagine, done for you ; for the last twelvemonth pinched 
me so hard, that I'm forced to beg time of your brother 
Sam till after harvest, to pay him the £10 that he lent 
you ; nor shall I have so much as that, I question whether 
£5, to keep my family from May-day till after harvest ; 
and don't expect I shall be able to do any thing for 
Charles when he goes to the university. And what 
will be my own fate, God knows, before the summer be 
over, sed passi graviora. Wherever I am, my Jackey is 
Fellow of Lincoln ! Yet all this, and perhaps worse 
than you know, has not made me forget you ; for I wrote 
to Dr. King, inclosed in one to Sam, desiring leave for 
you to move for two or three months into the country, 
where you would be gladly welcome, though with small 
hopes of obtaining it, as you know what has passed 

" As for advice : keep your best friend fast ; and next 
to him, Dr. Morley ; and have a care of your other 
friends, especially the younger. All at present, from 
" Your loving father, 

"Sam. Wesley." 

To his son Charles, who had in 1729 taken his bache- 
lor's degree in Christ's Church, Oxford, and had begun 
to take pupils, he wrote as follows : — 

" Eprvorth, Jan. 29, 1729-30. 
" Dear Charles, 
"I had your last with your brother's, and you may 


easily guess whether I were not pleased with it, both on 
your account and on my own. You have a double 
advantage by your pupils, which will soon bring you 
more if you will improve it, as I firmly hope you will, 
in taking the utmost care to form their minds to piety, 
as well as learning. As for yourself, between logic, 
grammar, and mathematics, be idle if you can ; and I 
give my blessing to the bishop for having tied you a 
little faster, by obliging you to rub up your Arabic ; 
and a fixed and constant method will make all both easy 
and delightful to you. But for all that, you must find 
time every day for walking ; which you know you 
may do with advantage to your pupils ; and a little more 
robust exercise now and then will do you no harm. 

" You are now launched fairly, Charles : hold up your 
head, and swim like a man; and when you cufi the 
wave beneath you, say to it, much as another hero did, — 
Carolum- vekis, et Caroli fortunam, 
" Thou earnest Charles, and Charles's fortune." 

But always keep your eye above the pole star. And so 
God send you a good voyage through the troublesome 
sea of life ! which is the hearty prayer of 

" Your loving father, 

"Sam. Wesley." 

The piety and good sense of Mr. Wesley are strikingly 
manifest in the advice which he gave to his sons at Ox- 
ford, when the public clamour was excited against them 
on account of the unusual strictness of their lives. Of 
this his son John has given the following interesting 
account in a letter to Mr. Morgan, of Dublin, dated Oct. 
18, 1732, where he says, " I wrote an account to my 
father of our whole design, withal begging that he who 

308 op mr. weslby's ancestors. 

had lived seventy years' in the world, and seen as much 
of it as most private men have ever done, would advise 
us whether we had yet gone too far, and whether we 
should now stand still, or go forward." His answer is 
as follows : — 

"Sept. 28, 1730. 

"As to your designs and employments, what can I 
say less of them than VaMe probo; and that I have the 
highest reason to bless God that he has given me two 
sons together in Oxford, to whom he has given grace 
and courage to turn the war against the world and the 
devil, which is the best way to conquer them. They 
have but one more enemy to combat with — the flesh, 
which if they take care to subdue by fasting and prayer, 
there will be no more for them to do, but to proceed 
steadily in the same course, and expect the crown which 
fadeth not away. You have reason to bless God as I 
do, that you have so fast a friend as Mr. Morgan, who I 
see in the foremost difficult service is ready to break the 
ice for you. I think I must adopt him as my son, 
together with you and your brother Charles ; and when 
I have such a Ternion to prosecute that war, wherein 
I am now miles emeritus, I shall not be ashamed when 
they speak with their enemies in the gate. 

*' I am afraid lest the main objection you make against 
your going on in the business with the prisoners may 
secretly proceed from flesh and blood. For who can harm 
you, if you are followers of that which is so good, and 
which will be one of the marks by which the Shepherd 
of Israel will know his sheep at the last day ? Though 
if it were possible for you to suffer a little in the cause, 
you would have a confessor's reward. You own that 
none but such as are out of their senses would be pre- 


judiced against your acting in this manner, but say, 
" These are they that need a physician." But what if 
they will not accept of one who will be welcome to the 
poor prisoners ? Go on, then, in God's name, in the path 
to which your Saviour has directed you, and that track 
wherein your father has gone before you. For when I 
was an undergraduate at Oxford, I visited those in the 
castle there, and reflect on it with great satisfaction to 
this day. Walk as prudently as you can, though not 
fearfully, and my heart and prayers are with you. Your 
first regular step is to consult with him (if any such 
there be) who has a jurisdiction over the prisoners, and 
the next is, to obtain the direction and approbation of 
your bishop. This is Monday morning, at which time I 
shall never forget you. If it be possible, I should be 
glad to see you all three here in the fine end of summer. 
But if I cannot have that satisfaction, I am sure I can 
reach you every day, though you were beyond the Indies. 
Accordingly, to Him who is every where I now heartily 
commit you, as being 

" Your most affectionate 

" and joyful father, 

"Sam. Wesley." 

In the following year Mr. Wesley met with an acci- 
dent that was likely to have proved fatal to him. Mr. 
John Wesley, then at Oxford, having had some account 
of it, wrote to his mother for the particulars, of which 
she gave him the following detail : 

"July 12,1731. 
" Dear Jacky, 

The particulars of your father's fall are as 
Mows : On Friday before Whitsunday, the 4th of June, 

310 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

I, your sister Martha, and our maid, were going in our 
wagon to see the ground we hire of Mrs. Knight, at 
Low Millwood. He sat in a chair at one end of the 
wagon, I in another at the other end, Matty between 
us, and the maid behind me. Just before we reached 
the close, going down a small hill, the horses took into a 
gallop ; out flies your father and his chair. The maid, 
seeing the horses run, hung all her weight on my chair, 
and kept me from keeping him company. She cried out 
to "William to stop the horses, and that her master was 
killed. The fellow leaped out of the seat, and stayed 
the horses ; then ran to Mr. "Wesley, but ere he got to 
him, two neighbours who were providentially met 
together raised his head, upon which he had pitched, and 
held him backward, by which means he began to respire ; 
for 'tis certain, by the blackness in his face, that he had 
never drawn breath from the time of his fall till they 
helped him up. By this time I was got to him, asked 
him how he did, and persuaded him to drink a little ale, 
for we had brought a bottle with us ; he looked pro- 
digiously wild, but began to speak, and told me he ailed 
nothing. I informed him of his fall. He said he 'knew 
nothing of any fall, he was as well as ever he was in 
his life.' "We bound up his head, which was very much 
bruised, and helped him into the wagon again, and set 
him at the bottom of it, while I supported his head 
between my hands, and the man led the horses softly 
home. I sent presently for Mr. Harper, who took a 
good quantity of blood from him ; and then he began 
to feel pain in several parts, particularly in his side and 
shoulder. He had a very ill night, but on Saturday 
morning Mr. Harper came again to him, dressed his 
head, and gave him something which much abated the 
pain in his side. "We repeated the dose at bedtime, and 


on Whitsunday he preached twice, and gave the sacra- 
ment, which was too much for him to do ; but nobody 
could dissuade him from it. On Monday he was ill; 
slept almost all day. On Tuesday the gout came ; but 
with two or three nights taking Bateman, it went off 
again, and he has since been better than could be ex- 
pected. We thought at first the wagon had gone over 
him ; but it only went over his gown sleeve ; and the 
nails took a little skin off his knuckles, but did him no 
further hurt." 

Thus far Mrs. Wesley. It is evident from the manner 
of his fall, and the state he was in when taken up, that 
had there not been timely help, he would have never 
breathed more. Was there not an especial providence 
concerned in preserving the life of this good man ? 

The generality of English readers will wonder at 
horses galloping away with a wagon ; and so should I, 
had I not known those which are used in the Isle of Ax- 
holme, and particularly about Epworth. It is a long, 
light, and very narrow vehicle, with four narrow wheels, 
drawn by two horses abreast ; and it is no unusual thing 
to drive with these wagons at a very high trot, and not 
seldom at a gallop, when going to the harvest-fields. 

This letter, the original of which is before me, seems 
to have been carefully preserved by Mr. John Wesley, 
as a record of God's mercy in the preservation of his 
father's life. He had endorsed it thus : — " My Father's 

Hard pressed as Mr. Samuel was in his circumstances, 
he was naturally a humane man, and was always on the 
alert where benevolence was concerned. The following 
letters are illustrative of this trait in his character. 

312 of mr. weslex's ancestors. 

"Epmorth, March 27, 1733. 
" Mr. Porter, 
"Dorothy Whitehead, widow, lately died here, 
leaving four small children, and all about her house not 
sufficient to bury her, as you will see by the oath of her 
executor added to the will ; for a will she would have 
to dispose of a few roods of land, lest her children should 
fall out about it. It is her brother Simon Thew, the 
bearer, who consented to be her executor, that he might 
take care of her children. I gave him the oath, as you 
will see, as strictly as I could, and am satisfied it is all 
exactly true. They were so poor, that I forgave them 
what was my due for it, and so did even my clerk for 
her burial. If there be any little matter due for the 
probate of the Will, I entreat and believe you will be 
as low as possible ; wherein you know your charity will 
be acceptable to God, and will much oblige 

" Your ready friend, 

"Sam. Wesley." 

P.S. " I hope you have received of the apparitor two 
guineas more, which I sent you by him some time since 
for two licenses, which is all I have parted with since 
the former ; being too weak myself (I doubt) to be at 
the visitation." 

" Epworth, May 14, 1734. 
" Mr. Stephenson, 
"As soon as I heard from John Brown that your 
kinswoman Stephenson had writ 'to you for her son 
Timothy, and that you had desired her to send for him 
up, I did not need any to compliment me with desiring 
my advice or assistance in it ; but because it was a cha- 
ritable action, and I knew the widow was not able to fit 


him out herself, having been left indifferently with three 
children beside him, and yet has not hitherto been bur- 
densome to any, I spoke to several of my best parish- 
ioners — Mr. John Maw, Mr. Barnard, and others, that 
we might be as kind to him as we have been to others 
who have been put apprentices at the public charge, 
which could be done but meanly at £5, according as you 
proposed it, though his mother should be able to scratch 
for a few shoes and stockings besides for him. I went 
twice on your account and his to a public meeting at 
the church on this occasion, before I had seen the mother 
or the boy. But the highest sum we could bring our 
people to, in order to make a man of him, was no more 
than three pounds, which I knew was far short of the 
matter. The same day, being Sunday last, I went and 
talked to Mr. John Maw and Mr. Barnard, who were 
his friends before, and we resolved to make up the rest 
by a private contribution among ourselves. I think it 
was the next day that I sent for the lad and his mother 
to my house, though I had often endeavoured in vain 
before to see them both. Accordingly they came, and I 
found he was a lad of spirit, and that he would please 
you, and be fit for his business, as far as his strength 
would go ; encouraging them both, and telling his 
mother that she might depend on five pounds, besides 
what she herself could do, to set him out. This was all 
I could do for him in the dark, not having seen the 
letters that have passed between Mr. Hall and you about 
him : and if herein I have been over-officious, I hope 
you will (at the least) excuse it from 

" Your obliged friend, 

" Sam. Wesley." 

vol. I. 

314 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

" JP. S. — Mine and my wife's service and thanks to you 
and yours for your civilities." 

In the following year he was confined to bed, attended 
by three physicians ; but what the nature of his com- 
plaint was does not appear. The affliction, however, 
was sanctified to the removal of that irritability of tem- 
per into which he was so often betrayed; for on the 
receipt of his brother's caustic letter, which I have 
already noticed, Mr. "W., speaking of himself in the 
third person, says, " I was a little surprised that he did 
not fall into flouncing and bouncing, as I have often seen 
him do on far less provocation ; which I ascribed to a fit 
of sickness which he hath lately had, and which I hope 
may have brought him to something of a better mind." 
Mr. Richard Morgan, in a letter, dated Feb. 17, 1733, 
addressed to Mr. John "Wesley, says: "I assure you, 
without any dissimulation or flattery, I rejoice sincerely 
at the recovery of the good old gentleman, your father, 
and am really concerned that the scorners of the uni- 
versity continue so malevolent to you." QMS. letter.^ 
This refers to a pamphlet which had just been published, 
viz. : " The Oxford Methodists ; being some account of a 
Society of Young Gentleman in that City, so deno- 
minated ; setting forth their Rise, Views, and Designs. 
With some Occasional Remarks on a Letter inserted in 
Fog's Journal of December 9, 1732, relating thereto. In 
a Letter from a Gentleman near Oxford to his Friend in 
London." Printed for J. Roberts, price 6d. 

Of the settlement of Mr. Wesley's family I find little. 
But the following letter relative to the person who mar- 
ried his daughter Mary, is worthy of insertion : 


" Westminster, Jan. 14, 1733-4. 
" To the Lord Chancellor, for John Whitelamb, 
now Curate of Epworth. 
"My Lord, 

" The small rectory of "Wroot, in the diocese and 
county of Lincoln, adjoining to the Isle of Axholme, is 
in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, and more than seven 
years since was conferred on Samuel Wesley, rector of 
Epworth. It lies in our low levels, and is often over- 
flowed ; four or five years since I have had it ; and the 
people have lost most or all the fruits of the earth to 
that degree that it has hardly brought me in fifty pounds 
per annum, omnibus annis ; and some years not enough 
to pay my curate there his salary of £30 a year. This 
living, by your lordship's permission and favour, I would 
gladly resign to one Mr. John Whitelamb, born in the 
neighbourhood of Wroot, as his father and grandfather 
lived in it, when I took him from among the scholars of a 
charity school, founded by one Mr. Travers, an attorney, 
brought him to my house, and educated him there, 
where he was my amanuensis for four years, in tran- 
scribing my " Dissertations on the Book of Job," now 
well advanced in the press ; and drawing my maps and 
figures for it, as well as we could by the light of nature. 
After this, I sent him to Oxford, to my son John Wesley, 
Fellow of Lincoln College, under whom he made such 
proficiency, that he was the last summer admitted by 
the Bishop of Oxford into deacon's orders, and placed 
my curate in Epworth, while I came up to town to ex- 
pedite the printing my book. 

" Since I was here, I gave consent to his marrying one 

of my seven daughters, and they are married accordingly ; 

and though I can spare little more with her, yet I would 

gladly give them a little glebe land at Wroot, where 




I am sure they will not want springs of water. But 
they love the place, though I can get nobody else to reside 
on it. If I do not flatter myself, he is indeed a valuable 
person, of uncommon brightness, learning, piety, and 
indefatigable industry ; always loyal to the king, zealous 
for the church, and friendly to our dissenting brethren ;* 
and for the truth of this character I will be answerable 
to God and man. If, therefore, your lordship will grant 
me the favour to let me resign the living unto him, and 
please to confer it on him, I shall always remain, 
" Your Lordship's most bounden, 

" most grateful, and most obedient servant, 
Samuel Wesley." 

Mary, the wife of this Mr. John Whitelamb, died of 
her first child. The Lord Chancellor transferred the 
living as requested ;t and Mr. "Whitelamb was promoted 
to it in the same month. 

We have another notice of Mr. Whitelamb, about 
this time, in a letter to Dr. Reynolds, Bishop of Lincoln, 
from Mr. Wesley : — 

Epworth, May 2, 1734. t 
" My Lord, 
"I thank God, I got well home, and found all well 

* Though the rector was " friendly " to the " dissenters," his 
private sentiments would never allow his friendship to proceed to 
cordiality. " A thousand times," says Mr. Wesley, " I have found 
my father's words true : ' You may have peace with the dissenters 
if you do not so humour them as to dispute with them. But if you 
do, they will out-face and out-lung you, and at the end you will 
be where you were at the beginning.' " Works, vol. xvi., p. 37. 
From hence, it would seem, that the friendship of policy was all 
that existed. — Editor. 

t See Gent. Mag., Feb., vol. iv., p. 108. " Mr. Whitelamb 
to the rectory of Wroote, Lincolnshire." — Editor. 


here, since which my son-in-law, Mr. Whitelamb, is gone 
with his wife to reside at Wroot, and takes true pains 
among the people. He designs to be inducted imme- 
diately after visitation. At my return to Epworth, 
looking a little among my people, I found there were two 
strangers come hither, both of which I have discovered 
to be papists, though they come to church, and I have 
hopes of making one or both of them good members of 
the church of England." 

We shall hear again of young Mr. Whitelamb, as 
Mr. Wesley's assistant on the Book of Job. 

We have already seen that Mr. Wesley was long en- 
gaged in a work that had for its object the elucidation 
of the Book of Job, proposals for the printing of which 
were published in 1729. From the preceding letter to 
the chancellor, we find it was in the press so early as 
the year 1732, but was not finished before 1736. This 
delay was not brooked by the subscribers, and from them 
he heard of many complaints. In a letter to a gentle- 
man of the name of Pygot, who had written to him on 
the subject, he vindicates himself, and accounts for these 
delays in the following manner : 

To Mr. Pygot. 

"■Epworth, Feb. 22, 1732-3. 
" Dear Sir, 
'• Many thanks for your civil letter. I cannot wonder 
that any should think long of Job's coming out, though 
'tis common in books of this nature, especially when the 
author is absent from the press, and there are so many 
cuts and maps in it, as must be in mine. However, I 
owe it to my subscribers, and indeed to myself, to give 
some farther account of this matter. 
p 3 

318 of me. Wesley's ancestors. 

"How if Job's friends have need of patience, at seeing 
him lie so long on the dunghill, or, which is much the 
same, the printing-house, how much more has Job him- 
self need of it, who is sensible his reputation suffers 
more and more by the delay of it ; though if he himself 
had died, as he was lately in a very fair way to it, having 
been as good as given over by three physicians, there 
would have been no manner of doubt (that every sub- 
scriber would have had his book) to any one who knows 
the character of my son at Westminster. Neither can I 
yet be satisfied with this, though I have already lost the 
use of one hand in the service j yet, I thank God, non 
deficit altera, and I begin to put it to school this day to 
learn to write, in order to help its lame brother. And 
when it can write legibly, I design, if it please God, 
for London myself this summer, to push on the editing 
of it, by helping to correct the press both in text and 
maps, and to frame the indexes; more than which I 
cannot do. Though there are so few subscribers, very 
many having forgot their large promises to assist me in 
it, that I hardly expect to receive one hundred pounds 
clear for all my ten years' pains and labour, if you 
will be so kind as to communicate this to any of my 
subscribers, who may fall in your way, it may perhaps 
give some satisfaction to them ; however, it will be but 
a piece of justice to your most obliged friend and brother, 

" Samuel Wesley." 

The title of this work is, " Dissertationes in Librum 
Jobi : Autore Samuel Wesley, Rectore de Epworth, 
in Dicecesi Lincolniensi, fol., Lond., typis Gulielmi 
Bowyer, 1736. 

Dedicated to Queen Caroline, in the very short but 
elegant manner following : — 





Magna; Britannia;, Franciae, et Hibernian, Reginae 


Qui Juvenis, Reginae Maris, 
Deinde provectior ^tate Anns, 


Idem Senex, plusquam Septuagenarius, 



By this we find that Mr. Wesley had the singular honour 
of dedicating different works to three British Queens in 
succession. His History of the Xife of Christ he dedi- 
cated to Queen Mary ; his History of the Old and New 
Testament, to Queen Anne; and his Dissertations on 
the Book of Joh, to Queen Caroline. 

When Mr. Wesley had purposed to dedicate this work 
to Queen Caroline, he wrote to both his sons, Samuel and 
John, relative to the proper mode of proceeding ; but, on 
inquiry, they found many obstacles in the way to the 
royal presence, occasioned, it appears, by some offence 
given by Mr. Samuel in his satires on the ministry and 
their friends. How these obstacles were at last removed 
we are not informed ; but the queen received the work, 
as we have seen above. The following letter, written to 
Mr. Samuel while this subject was pending, is both 
curious and important. 

To my son Samud. 

" EpmortA, Dec. 17,1730. 
" Dear Son, 
" On Wednesday last, the 15th instant, I had yours of 
the 11th and 12th, which has made me pretty quiet in 

320 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

reference to my dedication, as indeed my heart was never 
violently set upon it before, or I hope on any thing else 
in this world. I find it stuck where I always boded it 
would, as in the words of your brother in yours, when 
you waited on him with my letter and addressed him on 
the occasion. ' The short answer I received was this, it 
was utterly impossible to obtain leave on my account ; 
you had the misfortune to be my father ; and I had a 

long bill against M n.' 

" I guess at the particulars, that you have let your wit 
too loose against some favourites ; which is often more 
highly resented, and harder to be pardoned, than if you 
had done it against greater persons. It seems then that 
original sin goes sometimes upwards as well as down- 
wards ; and we must suffer for our offspring. Though, 
notwithstanding this disappointment, owing, I doubt not, 
to some misconduct, I shall never think it ' a misfortune 
to have been your father.' I am sensible it would avail 
little for me to plead, in proof of my loyalty, the having 
written and printed the first thing that appeared in de- 
fence of the government after the accession of King 
William and Queen Mary to the crown (which was an 
answer to a speech without doors) ; and I wrote a great 
many little pieces more, both in prose and verse, with 
the same view ; and that I ever had the most tender 
affection and deepest veneration for my sovereign and 
the royal family; on which account it is no secret to 
you, though it is to most others, that I have undergone 
the most sensible pains and inconveniences of my whole 
life, and that for a great many years together ; and yet 
have still, I thank God, retained my integrity firm and 
immoveable, till I have conquered at the last. I must 
confess, I had the (I hope at the least) pardonable vanity 
(when I had dedicated two books before to two of our 


English queens, Queen Mary and Queen Anne) to desire 
to inscribe a third, which has cost me ten times as much 
labour as all the rest, to her Gracious Majesty, Queen 
Caroline, who, I have heard, is an encourager of learn- 
ing. And this work, I am sure, needs a royal encourage- 
ment, whether or no it may deserve it. Neither would 
I yet despair of it, had I any friend who would fairly 
represent that and me to her Majesty. Be that as 
it pleaseth Him in whose hands are the hearts of all the 
princes upon earth ; and he turneth them whithersoever 
he pleases. 

" If we have not subscriptions enough for the cuts, as 
proposed, we must be content to lower our sails again, 
and to have only the maps, the picture of Job, which I 
must have at the beginning, and some few others. The 
family, I thank God, is all well, as is your affectionate 

"Sam. Wesley, Sen." 

Before the work was put to press, Mr. Wesley had 
the opportunity of consulting the library of the Marquis 
of Rockingham, at Wentworth House. For this pur- 
pose, he took his son, Mr. John Wesley, with him, to 
aid him in his researches, and to assist him in tran- 
scribing such extracts as might be valuable to the work. 
This circumstance is thus noticed by Mr. Everett, in his 
"Sketches of Methodism in Sheffield :"— " Mr. Wesley," 
says he, " was on a visit to Wentworth House, in 1733, 
with his father, who was then engaged with a literary 
work (Dissertationes in Librum Jobi), and found it neces- 
sary to consult the library of the Marquis. Their stay 
being prolonged over the sabbath-day, Mr. John Wesley 
occupied the pulpit in Wentworth church, to the no 
small gratification of the parishioners. What tended to 

322 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

excite more than usual attention was, that the preacher 
was a stranger, the son of a venerable clergyman, and 
had his father as a hearer." This fact Mr. Everett had 
from the lips of a person who heard Mr. John Wesley 
on the occasion. It appears from Thorseby's Diary, that 
the rector of Epworth occasionally visited Leeds also. 
" I was visited to-day," says that writer, " by the noted 
poet, Mr. Wesley, then at Alderman Rooke's." I shall 
here add a letter from Mr. Samuel Wesley, to General 
Oglethorpe, as it shows the state of forwardness in which 
this work was, the following year. It is dated, 

"Epworth, July 6, 1734. 
" Honoured Sir, 
" May I be admitted, while such crowds of our 
nobility and gentry are pouring in their congratulations, 
to press with my poor mite of thanks into the presence 
of one who so well deserves the title of universal bene- 
factor to mankind. It is not only your valuable favours 
on many accounts to my son, late of Westminster, and 
myself, when I was not a little pressed in the world, nor 
your more extensive and generous charity to the poor 
prisoners ; it is not this only that so much demands my 
warmest acknowledgments, as your disinterested and 
immoveable attachment to your country, and your raising 
a new country, or rather a little world of your own, in 
the midst of almost wild woods and uncultivated deserts, 
where men may live free and happy, if they are not 
hindered by their own stupidity and folly, in spite of the 
unkindness of their brother mortals. Neither ought I 
ever to forget your singular goodness to my little scholar 
and parishioner, and creditor too, John Lyndall ; for since 
he went over I have received some money for him, whereof 
I sent him the account in my last, both of £10 I have 


paid for him, and what still remains in my hands for his 
order, it seeming necessary that he should make a slip 
hither into Lincolnshire, if you could spare him for a 
fortnight or a month, to settle his affairs here with his 
father's creditors, which I hope he may now nearly do, 
and then he will have a clear estate left, I think about 
£6 a year, to dispose of as he pleases. I hope he has 
behaved with such faithfulness and industry since he has 
had the honour and happiness of waiting upon you, as 
not to have forfeited the favour of so good a master. 

"I owe you, Sir, besides this, some account of nay little 
affairs, since the beginning of your expedition. Not- 
withstanding my own and my son's violent illness, which 
held me half a year,* and him above a twelvemonth, I 

* The two first sermons he preached after this affliction were from 
John y. 14 : " Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, 
Behold, thou art made whole : sin no more, lest a worse thing come 
unto thee." 

These words, he informed his congregation, he had chosen as 
most suitable to his own circumstances, and which, he intimated, 
might not be improper for those of others. The following is the 
outline. In the context, 

The history of the pool of Bethesda. 

What is meant by the angel which troubled the waters f 

Whether a celestial angel, or the priest's servant only ? 

If it was miraculous, the reason of the miracle about that time. 

How long we may suppose it lasted, and how it came to cease 1 

The superiority of this one miracle of Christ, in' curing this 
impotent man, above all those that were wrought by the angelical 

The unreasonable behaviour of the Jews on this occasion. 

The sensible answer of the man who Lad been healed. 

So much for the context. The text itself contains, - 
The Saviour's words to the man whom he had healed. 

324 of mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

have^made a shift to get more than three parts in four 
of Job printed off, and both the printing, paper, and 
maps, hitherto paid for. My son John, at Oxford, now 
his elder brother is gone to Tiverton, takes care of the 
remainder of the impression in London, and I have an 
ingenious artist here with me, in my house, at Epworth, 
who is graving and working off the remaining maps and 
figures for me ; so that I hope, if the printer does not 

1. The place where our Lord found him, and upon what 

2. What he said to him on that occasion. 

(1) To put him in mind of his late deliverance, " Behold," &c. 

(2) The use which he told him he ought to make of it, " Sin 
no more," &c. 

(3) The application of the whole to any one who has been 
sick, and whom God has been pleased to restore to health 

The last two sermons he has left upon record were preached at 
Epworth, August 18, 1734, on 1 Sam. xii. 17: " Is it not wheat- 
harvest to-day 1 I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send 
thunder and rain ; that ye may perceive and see that your wicked- 
ness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord." From 
hence he endeavours to show, 

That unseasonable weather in time of harvest is a just judgment 
inflicted by the hand of God for the wickedness of any people. 

"lam afraid," continues he, " nay, too well assured, that there 
are a far greater number of you who have hardened your hearts 
as did Pharaoh, when he saw there was a little respite, and the 
mighty thunderings ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the 
earth ; for otherwise, how came the house of God so empty here 
last Sunday'! though other churches, I doubt, were little better for 
it ; and the people went in such shameful droves to do their own 
ways, and find their own pleasures, and speak their own words, 
and left so very small a flock behind them on their knees to cry 
mightily unto God, as did the poor affrighted Ninevites, that he 
would have mercy upon us, that we might not perish." 


hinder me, I shall have the whole ready by next spring ; 
and, by God's leave, be in London myself to deliver the 
books perfect. I print 500 copies, as in my proposals, 
whereof I have above 300 already subscribed for, and 
among my subscribers, fifteen or sixteen English bishops, 
with some of Ireland. 

I have not yet done with my own impertinent nos- 
trums. I thank God, I creep up hill more than I did 
formerly, being eased of the weight of four daughters 
out of seven, as I hope I shall be of the fifth in a little 
longer. When Mr. Lyndal comes down, I shall trouble 
you, by him, with a copy of all the maps and figures 
which I have yet printed, they costing me no more than 
the paper since the graving is over. 

" If you will be pleased herewith to accept the tender 
of my most sincere respect and gratitude, you will 
thereby confer one further obligation on, 
" Honoured Sir, 
" Your most obedient and most humble servant, 

" Samuel Wesley." 

To James Oglethorpe, Esq. 

It is very likely that Mr. Wesley had learnt before he 
died that his work, when finished, would be received by 
the queen, and that he had permission to dedicate it to 
Her Majesty ; and it must have consoled him ; as it 
would have pained him most sensibly to have fallen 
under the displeasure of one whom he most sincerely 
reverenced. I shall now proceed to a description of the 
work itself. 

The Dissertations are thirty-five in number, some of 
which are very curious. 

From the preface we learn the following particulars : — 

1. That he had for a long time carefully read over this 

326 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

book, first in Hebrew, and secondly in the Septuagint ; 
thaf he collated these together, and formed the result 
into notes and observations on the passages which gave 
them birth; that, having procured "Walton's Polyglott, 
he conferred what he had already done with the ancient 
Versions in that work, and greatly increased his notes 
and observations ; and that the fire in his house in 
1709 destroyed all his property, not a leaf, either of his 
Polyglott or his Collections on Job, escaping the flames. 

2. Having procured another Polyglott, he read over 
the Hebrew text again and again, diligently compared 
the Alexandrian and Vatican editions of the Septwagint 
with all the fragments of Origen's Hexapla, collated all 
the variations in the Chaldee, Arabic, and Syriac texts, 
with the principal critics, as exhibited in Pool's Synopsis; 
but not understanding the Arabic and Syriac, he was 
obliged to trust to their Latin Versions in the Polyglott. 
He compared also Tindal's and the Bishops' Bible, of 
which he says, Qua licet non prorsus infallibili, perfec- 
tiorem in ulla lingua me visurum non spero ; " which, 
although not altogether infallible, anything more perfect 
in any language I never expect to see." 

3. Having gone through all this previous labour, he 
then consulted all the commentators within his reach, 
principally relying on what he had been able to acquire 
from the above collation of the original text, and ancient 
Versions in the Polyglott. 

4. As he did not design to write a commentary on 
the book, he wrote down the titles of subjects on which 
he designed to write dissertations for the general eluci- 
dation of the book. 

5. He then relates the assistance he had from books ; 
and mentions with peculiar gratitude and respect the 
help he received from the library of Lord Milton ; 


without whose kindness, hospitality, and munificence, 
the work, he says, would hare come into the world 
mutilated, or perished as an abortion. 

6. The authors he consulted were principally Pliny, 
Bunting's Travels of the Patriarchs, Salmasius, Mercator, 
Jerome, Eusebius, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, Luitsius, 
Sanson, Purchas, Hakluyt, De la Valle, and Peutinger's 
Tables, for the geographical part. Bochart, worth all the 
rest put together, he had, he says, only for a few days. 
Cahnet, Pineda, Spanheim, Dr. Hyde, Bishop Cumber- 
land, Greaves, Sandys, &c, gave him help in the same 

7- For the chronology, he consulted Usher," Lloyd, 
Marshal, Ptolemy, Cellarius, Keyland, and Maundrell. 

8. Mr. Romley, teacher of the Wroot Charity School ; 
Maurice Johnson, Esq., founder of the Gentleman's 
Society at Spalding ; and his three sons, Samuel, John, 
and Charles, were those from whom he had his principal 
assistance. Samuel corrected the press ; and he and his 
brothers did every thing in the work that dutiful sons 
should do for an aged and most respectable parent. 

In the history of the Spalding Society, contained in 
the Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, vol. iii., it is 
said, Mr. Maurice Johnson read to the society, in 1730, 
a dissertation in Latin, drawn up by him, at the instance 
of the Rev. Samuel Wesley, in 1727, entitled, " Juris- 
prudentia Jobi ;" with critical notes and drawings of the 
A/pgos, or seat from whence Job administered justice, 
Job xxix. 7 (LXX) : " When I prepared my seat in the 
street." The dissertation on this article is very short in 
Mr. Wesley's book, page 258—260 ; perhaps an abridg- 
ment of Mr. Johnson's, whose assistance is acknowledged 
in the preface. 

9. By close application to this work for many years, 



he greatly impaired his health, and brought on himself 
both gout and palsy. He died the year before it was fin- 
ished, and his son Samuel completed and edited the work. 
10. In this work there are a good many engravings 
by Vertue, Seale, and Cole ; and there are several plates 
anonymous. Of the engravings in general, Mr. Badcock 
says, " They seem to be the first rude efforts of an un- 
tutored boy ; nothing can be conceived more execrable." 
We must except from this censure the head by Vertue, 
which is really fine. The crocodile, hippopotamus, and 
war-horse, by Cole, are tolerable. The rest are very 
indifferent; and the anonymous, which were the work 
of Mr. John "Whitelamb, his amanuensis and pupil for 
several years, whom, as has been observed, he sent to 
the university, and who afterwards married his daughter 
Mary, are among the worst that ever saw the sun. Mr. 
Badcock guessed right, that they were the first rude 
efforts of an untutored boy. 

The frontispiece by Vertue is well imagined, and well 
done ; except the arch and portcullis in the ancient gate, 
under which Mr. Wesley, in the character of Job dis- 
pensing justice, is sitting in an ancient chair, with a 
sceptre in his hand, and two pyramids in the distance. 
The arch and portcullis most certainly did not exist in 
the days of Job. Over the top of the gate is written 
JOB PATRIARCHA ; and at the bottom of the leaf 
are these words upon a label : — 

An. Etat. circiter LXX. 


* Only three words were inserted, agreeably to the statement of 
a friend, who refers to the work itself; further remarking, that " a 
small plate was printed with both lines." — Editor. 


A correspondent in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1785, 
p. 758, says that this inscription " marks it out as the 
quaint device of a man in years, who thought himself 
neglected." I cannot think there was any such design, 
or that Mr. Wesley thought himself neglected. In no 
part of his private correspondence have I found even 
the shadow of such a complaint. He rather spoke of 
what he had as something, in the way of providence, 
beyond any thing he had either sought or expected. 
The words are taken, with a slight alteration, from Job 
xix. 23, as they stand in the Vulgate : — 

Qais mihi tribuat ut scribantur sermones mei J 
Qitu mihi det ut exarantur in libra ? — 

O that my words were now written ! 
O that they were written in a book ! 

Of this work there were 500 copies printed, as stated 
in a preceding letter; and he had a list of 343 sub- 

The most useful part of this volume, and what must 
have cost the author incredible pains and trouble, is the 
last part, entitled, Libri Jobi Textus Hebraicus, cum 
Paraphrasi Chaldaica et Versionibus plurimis collatus — 
" The Hebrew text of the Book of Job, collated with 
the Chaldee Paraphrase and numerous Versions." 

The following are the Versions : — 

The Septuagint, in the Aldine, Grabean, and Bossian 
editions, and in the Complutensian Polyglott, with the 
fragments of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. 

* In the Gentleman's Magazine for February, 1736, p. 99, the 
work is thus advertised : " Dissertationes et Conjecture in Librum 
Jobi; Tabulis et Geographicis et Figuris asneis illustratae. By 
S. Westley. Sold by C. Rivington and S. Bort. " 

330 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

The Chaldee Paraphrase. 

The Syriac and Arabic Versions. 

The Latin Version of Castellio. 

of Arias Montanus. 

of St. Ambrose. 

of Junius Tremellius. 

of Piscator. 

of the Zurich divines. 

The English Version of Tindal. 

The present authorized Version. 

Every verse of the whole book has been collated as 
abo/re, and all the variations set down ; and this part of 
the work occupies no less than 184 folio pages. It is 
one of the most complete things of the kind I have ever 
met with ; and must be invaluable to any man who may 
wish to read this book critically. 

The work having been dedicated by permission to the 
queen, Mr. John Wesley was appointed to present it in 
the name of his deceased father; which he did on 
Sunday, October 12, 1735. Himself told me, that 
" when he was introduced into the royal presence, the 
queen was romping with her maids of honour ; but she 
suspended her play, heard and received him graciously, 
took the book from his hand, which he presented to her 
kneeling on one knee, looked at the outside, said, ' It 
is very prettily bound,' and then laid it down in a 
window, without opening a leaf. He rose up, bowed, 
walked backward, and withdrew. The queen bowed 
and smiled, and spoke several kind words, and imme- 
diately resumed her sport." 

In a letter from Mr. Badcock, published by Mr. 
Nichols in his Literary Anecdotes, vol. v., p. 219, and 
also in the Gentleman's Magazine, mention is made of 
Mr. John Wesley's presenting the book to Queen Caro- 


line. He says, " Mr. John "Wesley, in a letter to his 
brother Samuel, acknowledges the very courteous re- 
ception he was honoured with from her Majesty, who 
gave him 'bows and smiles, but nothing for his poor 
father.' " 

That this cannot be correct will appear from the fol- 
lowing advertisement of Mr. Wesley's death, in vol. v. 
of the Gentleman's Magazine for 1735, p. 276, which is 
thus recorded : " Died, April 25, at Epworth, in Lin- 
colnshire, the Rev. Mr. Samuel Wesley, M. A., rector of 
that parish, a person of singular parts, piety, and learn- 
ing ; author of several poetical and controversial pieces. 
He had for some years been composing a critical disser- 
tation on the Book of Job, which he has left unfinished, 
and almost printed. He proved ever since his minority 
a most zealous assertor of the doctrines and discipline of 
the Church of England." 

Mr. Samuel Wesley thus appears to have died April 
25, 1735, and the work in question bears date 1736. 
It was in this year it was published, and it certainly 
was not finished when he died ; for in the account of 
his father's death, which Mr. Charles Wesley wrote 
from Epworth to his brother Samuel, dated April 30, 
1735, we find these remarkable words : " The fear of 
death he had entirely conquered ; and at last gave up 
his latest human desires, of finishing Job, paying his 
debts, and seeing you." The book could not have been 
presented before it was finished ; there must, therefore, 
be a mistake in Mr. Badcock's statement, which repre-- 
sents Mr. Samuel Wesley, sen., as alive when his son 
John presented the book to the queen : " Her Majesty 
gave him bows and smiles, but nothing for his poor 

332 of mb. wesley's ancestors. 

•But Mr. John Wesley's letter to his brother puts th< 
matter beyond dispute. It is dated, 

" Gravesend, on board the Simmonds, Oct. 15, 1735, 
" Dear Brother, 
" I presented Job to the queen on Sunday, and had 
many good words and smiles. Out of what is due tc 
me on that account, I beg you first pay yourself what ] 
owe you ; and if I live till spring, I can then direcl 
what I would have done with the remainder." 

Here is the whole that Mr. J. "Wesley says on the 
subject. And thus we see the book was not presented 
till more than six months after Mr. Samuel Wesley's 
death. Mr. J. Wesley embarked on Tuesday, the 14th. 
The book was presented on Sunday, the 12th. 

On returning to the personal narrative of the rector oi 
Epworth, we shall find, by referring to his correspond- 
ence, a few of the subjects which occupied his attention, 
and exercised his feelings, during the few last months oi 
his life. James Oglethorpe, Esq., has been noticed ; 
and his further letters to that gentleman will show the 
deep interest he took in the prosperity of Georgia.* But 
previously to the introduction of these, the following 
letter may be noticed, as expressive of his concern for 
the spiritual welfare of his friends. 

* It is remarkable that none of Mr. Wesley's biographers have 
adverted to the friendship subsisting between Mr. Samuel Wesley 
and Mr. Oglethorpe, as one of those links in the chain of cause 
and effect, which led to the selection of Mr. John Wesley for the 
mission in Georgia; and more especially, as the appointment of 
the latter followed so soon after the date of the correspondence. — 


" Eprvorth, near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, 
July 11, 1734. 
"Dear Friend, 
" Though I have not been worthy to hear from you, 
or to have seen any letter of yours since I saw you last, 
yet I cannot but retain the same warmth of Christian 
affection for you which I conceived at our first sight and 
acquaintance, as I believe you did the like for me and 
mine. Your friend of Queen's, whom we call Nathaniel, 
and who brought us the last good news of your health, 
is gone to his relations in Yorkshire, but promises to 
return and meet you here, when you and your friends 
come down to see us at our fair ia August next. If 
Charles is short of money, pray tell him he is welcome 
to twenty shillings here, to make him easier in his jour- 
ney. But I think I can tell you of what will please you 
more ; for last Sunday, at the sacrament, it was darted 
into my mind, that it was a pity you and your company, 
while you are here, should be deprived of the benefit of 
weekly sacraments, which you enjoy where you are at 
present, and therefore resolved, if you desire it, while 
you are here, to have the communion every Sunday; 
and lest some of the parish should grumble at it, the 
offerings of us who communicate will defray the small ex- 
pense of it ; and if there be anything else which you can 
desire, that would be more acceptable to you while you 
are here (though I am sure there cannot), and which is 
in my power to grant or procure, you are hereby already 
assured of it. If I could write anything kinder, my dear 
friend, I would ; and I shall see by your acceptance of 
it, and compliance with it, whether you believe me, 
" Your sincere friend, 

" and half namesake, 

" Samuel Wesley." 

334 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

* As in the preceding letter it will be found that he con- 
templated the religious prosperity of his friends at home, 
,so the following will show he was not less anxious for 
the happiness of persons abroad. 

To James Oglethorpe, Esq. 

Eptvorth, near Gainsboroitff/i, Lincolnshire. 
Nov. 7, 1734. 
" Honoured Sir, 
" I am at length, I thank God, slowly recovering from 
a long illness, during which there have been few days 
or nights but my heart has been working hard foi 
Georgia, and for my townsman, John Lyndal. It is ir 
answer to the favour of yours, and of his last, that 1 
write these to both. I am extremely concerned lest ar 
inundation of rum should break in upon your colony 
and destroy that, as it has almost done some others 
But I have some better hopes, because I hear you dc 
not design to plant it with canes, but with some more 
innocent, and I hope as profitable, produce ; any ol 
which, whether mulberries or saffron, I should be glad 
to hear were yet begun in Georgia. I confess 1 can- 
not expect God's blessing, even on the greatest indus- 
try, without true piety, and the fear of God. I had 
always so dear a love for your colony'that if it had bul 
been ten years ago, I would gladly have devoted the re- 
mainder of my life and labours to that place, and thini 
I might before this time have conquered the language, 
without which little can be done among the natives, ii 
the Bishop of London would hare done me the honoui 
to have sent me thither, as perhaps he then might : bul 
that is now over. However, I can still reach them with 
my prayers, which I am sure will never be wanting. 


My letter to Mr. Lyndal relates to his own particular 
affairs here in the country ; for, though his effects are 
not large, they ought by no means to be neglected, and 
I have given him the best advice that I am able ; but if 
your wisdom should think otherwise, I desire the letter 
may be sunk, or else go forward to him by the next op- 
portunity. With all the thanks I am capable of, I re- 
member your goodness to my son, formerly at Westmin- 
ster, to myself, and to my parishioner Lyndal ; and am, 
with the truest respect and gratitude, 
" Your Honour's 
" most obliged, 

" and most humble servant, 
" Samuel Wesley, Sen." 

" Epworth, near Gainsborough, Nov. 7, 1734. 
" Mr. Lyndal, 
" I have not been a little concerned for the unsettled- 
ness of your affairs at Wroot, and in this country, which 
it is likely might have been in some confusion if I had 
dropped, as I lately narrowly escaped two dangerous sick- 
nesses. Indeed, what little concerns of yours I had in 
my hands, being somewhat above 10/., the remainder of 
the brief money, I have taken what care of them I could ; 
and think the best and honestest way you could do 
would be to pay that money, as far as it will go, towards 
the interest of what your father had taken up upon his 
estate, while he was living. Mr. Epworth has been with 
me several times from his mother. The last time he came, 
he brought me a letter from her, wherein she says, there 
was a bond of 101., and a note of 201., as I remember, due 
to Mr. Epworth's father. She desired that you would pay 
off the 1 0Z. with interest, and they would stay for the 201. 

336 or mr. Wesley's ancestors, 

I told him that could not be done, because there was so 
little money amongst us all ; and therefore I thought the 
fairest and wisest way was to divide the money I had in 
my hand, to pay the interest proportionally, as far as it 
would go, for then it would, at least, sink some of it. 

As for your estate, which is in the tenure of Robert 
Brumby, I suppose about 51. or 61. a-year, I cannot think 
it at all advisable to put him under such a temptation as 
to leave it entirely in his disposal, but think it would 
be much better for you to fix two or three trustees, and 
make him yearly accountable to them. If you like it, 
I will be one of them myself, as long as I live ; my son 
Whitelamb would be another ; and we think we could 
persuade Mr. Romley, the schoolmaster, to be the third, 
who so well understands the whole matter. 

And now I have some little inquiries to make of 
your new country ? "Whether there is any of our minis- 
ters understands their language, and can preach to them 
without an interpreter ? Whether they speak the same 
language with those Indians who are near them, of 
Saltzburg and Carolina ; or of those of New England, 
who, I know, have the Bible translated into their lan- 
guage ? Whether your Indians have the Lord's Prayer 
in their own language ? which if they have, I desire 
you would send me a copy of it in your next. In all 
which, especially in loving God and your neighbour, you 
would exceedingly oblige 

" Your sincere friend, 

" Samuel Wesley, Sen." 

" P. S. I have just now sent for your uncle, John 
Barrow, and find your father owed him 41. 10s., bor- 
rowed money, and Goody Stephenson, of our town (left 


her by her sister, of Wroot), 51. John Barrow is willing 
to take it when you can pay him, without interest; anil 
so should Stephenson too, but only she is poor; and 
therefore, I'll give her 5s. on your account, if you think 
fit. Let me hear from you as soon as you can, after the 
receipt of this." 

To Mr. Oglethorpe. 

" Epworth, Dec. 7, 1734. r 
" Dear Sir, 

" I cannot express how much I am obliged by your 
last kind and instructive letter concerning the affairs of 
Georgia. I could not read it over without sighing 
(though I have read it several times), when I again re- 
flected on my own age and infirmities, which made 
such an expedition utterly impracticable for me. Yet, 
my mind worked hard about it ; and it is not impossible 
but Providence may have directed me to such an ex- 
pedient as may prove more serviceable to your colony 
than I should ever have been. 

" The thing is thus : — There is a young man who has 
been with me a pretty many years, and assisted me in 
my work of Job ; after which, I sent him to Oxford, to 
my son, John Wesley, Fellow of Lincoln College, who 
took care of his education, where he behaved himself 
very well, and improved in piety and learning. Then 
I sent for him down, having got him into deacon's 
orders, and he was my curate in my absence in London , 
when I resigned my small living of Wroot to him, and he 
was instituted and inducted there. I likewise consented 
to his marrying one of my daughters, there having been 
a long and intimate friendship between them. But neither 
he nor I were so happy as to have them live long to- 

vol. i. q 

338 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

getter; for she died in child-bed of her first child. He 
was so inconsolable at her loss, that I was afraid he would 
soon have followed her ; to prevent which, I desired his 
company here at my own house, that he might have some 
amusement and business, by assisting me in my cure 
during my illness. It was then, Sir, I just received the 
favour of yours, and let him see it for his diversion ; more 
especially, because John Lyndal and he had been fel- 
low-parishioners and school-fellows, at Wroot, and had 
no little kindness one for the other. I made no great 
reflection on the thing at first ; but soon after, when I 
found he had thought often upon it, was very desirous 
to go to Georgia himself, and wrote the inclosed letter 
to me on the subject, and I knew not of any person 
more proper for such an undertaking, I thought the 
least I could do was to send the letter to your Honour, 
who would be so very proper a judge of the affair : and 
if you approve, I shall not be wanting in my addresses 
to my Lord Bishop of London, or any other, since I ex- 
pect to be in London myself at spring, to forward the 
matter, as few as it will go. 

"As for his character, I shall take it upon myself, 
that he is a good scholar, a sound Christian, and a good 
liver. He has a very happy memory, especially for 
languages, and a judgment and intelligence not inferior. 
My eldest ' son at Tiverton has some knowledge of him, 
concerning whom I have writ to him since your last to 
me. My two others, his tutor at Lincoln, and my third 
of Christ-church, have been long and intimately ac- 
quainted with him ; and I doubt not but they will give 
him, at least, as just a character as I have done. And 
here I shall rest the matter, till I have the honour of 
hearing again from you ; and shall either drop it, or pro- 


secute it, as appears most proper to your maturer judg- 
ment ; ever remaining, 

" Your Honour's 

" most sincere and most obliged 
" friend and servant, 

"Samuel Wesley." 

The following letter is more varied as well as more 
painful in its character than the preceding. 

To eon Sam, at Tiverton. 

"Eprvorth, Dec. 4, 1734. 
" Dear Son, 

" Having a pretty many things to write to you, and 
those of no small moment ; and being for the most part 
confined to my house by pain and weakness, so that I 
have not yet ventured to church on a Sunday ; I have 
just now sat down to try if I can reduce my thoughts 
into any tolerable order; though I can write but few 
lines in a day, which, yet being under my own hand, 
may not be the less acceptable to you. 

" I shall throw what I have a mind you should know, 
under three heads. 

"1. What most immediately concerns our own family. 
2. Dick Ellison, the wen of my family, and his poor in- 
sects that are sucking me to death. 3. J. Whitelamb ; — 
and, perhaps, in postscript, a little of my own personal 
affairs ; and of the poor. 

"1. Of our family — where, if I see anything, all Job is 
at stake, for your brother John has at last writ me, 
' That it is now his unalterable resolution not to accept 
of Epworth living, if he could have it ;' and the reason 
he gives for it is in these words : ' The question is not 



whether I could do more good to others there or here' 
(though I am apt to think that is the very pinch of the 
question to every good man ; for, indeed, what he adds 
is the same in effect, and I can make no more than an 
identical proposition of it, which differs not in sense from 
the former; for thus he goes on with it), 'but whether 
I could do more good to myself; seeing wherever I can 
be most holy myself, there, I am assured, I can most 
promote holiness in others. But I am equally assured, 
there is no place under heaven so fit for my improve- 
ment as Oxford. Therefore,' &c. 

" Thus stands his argument, the whole of which seems 
to me to be existical, as his manner is, following that 
great man's words too close, as he did the sophists, 
though not to his honour ; for this way was much better 
calculated to silence an adversary, and to puzzle and 
perplex a cause, than to instruct or convince others ; as 
is now generally owned of his argument from remi- 
niscence, and many more, cast in the same or the like 
mould with it. Yet, though I am no more fond of this 
griping and wrangling distemper than I am of Mr. 
Harpur's boluses and clysters (for age would again have 
rest), I sat myself down to try if I could unravel his 
sophisms, and hardly one of his assertions appeared to 
me to be universally true. I think the main of my 
answer was, that he seemed to mistake the end of aca- 
demical studies, which were chiefly preparatory, in order 
to qualify men to instruct others. He thinks there is 
no place so fit for his improvement as Oxford. As to 
many sorts of useful knowledge, it may be nearly true ; 
but surely there needs be a knowledge, too, of men and 
things (which have not been thought the most attain- 
able in a cloister), as well as of books, or else we shall 


find ourselves of much less use in the world. And 
I am not assured that there is not a ne plus ultra, as to 
parts and useful knowledge, in particular men ; as I am 
too sure there is in the strength of the body ; and that 
and the strength of the mind depend very much on one 
another. But the best and greatest improvement is in 
solid piety and religion, and which is handy to be got, 
or promoted, by being hung up in Socrates' basket. 
Besides, be austerity and mortification either a means 
of promoting holiness, or in some degree a part of it ; 
yet, why may not a man exercise these in his own house 
as strictly as in any college, in any university in Europe; 
and, perhaps, with less censure and observation ? Neither 
can I understand the meaning or drift of being thus 
ever learning, and never coming to a due proficiency in 
the knowledge and practice of the truth, so as to be able 
eommendably to instruct others in it. 

" Thus far I have written with my own hand in the 
original, both to you and your brother, for many days 
together ; but am now so heartily tired, that I must, con- 
trary to my resolution above, get my son Whitelamb to 
transcribe and finish it. I have done what I could with 
such a shattered head and body, to satisfy the scruples 
which your brother has raised against my proposal, from 
conscience and duty : but if your way of thinking be the 
same with mine, especially after you have read and 
weighed what follows, you will be able to convince him 
in a much clearer and stronger manner ; though, if you 
are not satisfied yourself of his obligation to take it, if it 
may be procured, I cannot expect you should satisfy 
him. The remaining considerations I offered to him on 
that head, were for the most part such as follow : — I 
urged to him among other things, the great precarious- 
ness of my own health, and sensible decay of my strength, 

342 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

so [that he would hardly know me if he saw me now, 
which will not admit of a long time for consultation. The 
deplorable state in which I should leave your mother and 
the family, without an almost miraculous interposition of 
Providence, which we are not to presume upon, when 
we neglect the means, if my offer should be rejected till 
it were too late. The loss of near forty years' (I hope 
honest) labour in this place, where I could expect no 
other, but that the field which I have been so long 
sowing with (I trust) good seed, and the vineyard which 
I have planted with no ignoble vine, must be soon rooted 
iip, and the fences of it broken down; for I think I 
know my successor, who, I am morally satisfied, would 
be no other than Mr. P., if your brothers both slight it ; 
'and I shall have work enough, if my life should last so 
long, to accomplish it ; and, behold, there seems to be a 
price now put into their hands, or, at least, some proba- 
bility of it. If they go on to reject it, I hope I am clear 
before God and man, as to that whole affair. I hinted 
at one thing, which I mentioned in my letter to your 
brother, whereon I depend more than upon all my own 
simple reasoning; and that is, earnest prayer to Him 
who smiles at the strongest resolutions of mortals, and 
can, in a moment, change or demolish them ; who alone 
can bend the inflexible sinew, and order the irregular 
wills of us sinful men to his own glory, and to our hap- 
piness ; and, while the anchor holds, I despair of nothing, 
but firmly believe, that he who is best will do what -is 
best, whether we earnestly will it, or appear never so 
averse from it ; and there I rest the whole matter, and 
leave it with him, to whom I have committed all my 
concerns, without exception and without reserve, for 
soul and body, estate and family, time and eternity. 
2. As to the second part of my letter, concerning R. 


Ellison, I have at least as little hope in the prospect of 
it, as I hare in the former, though I have charity cram- 
med down my throat every day, and sometimes his com- 
pany at meals, which you will believe as pleasant to me 
as all my physic. That is beyond the reach of all my 
little prudence ; and therefore, I find I must leave it, as 
I have done, in some good measure before, to him who 
orders all things. 

The third part of my letter, which is of almost as great 
concern as the former, and on some accounts perhaps 
greater, is in relation to my son Whitelamb. The whole 
affair whereof you will find contained in a letter I lately 
sent to Mr. Oglethorpe, and in my son Whitelamb's to 
myself, which I sent inclosed a post or two since, to the 
same gentleman, who desired me in his last to give his 
respects to you at Tiverton, when I wrote nest to you ; 
which letters are so full, that they have exhausted what 
we had to say on that subject ; and nothing at present 
need or can be added. I desire you therefore to weigh 
the whole with the utmost impartiality ; and if you are 
of the same mind with myself and your mother, who 
entirely approves of the design, that you would yourself 
write to Mr. Oglethorpe, as I promised you would, and 
send him your thoughts, and use your good offices about 

And now, as to my own minute affairs, I doubt not 
but you will, as you gave me hopes when you went into 
Devon, improve your interest among the gentlemen, your 
friends, and get me some more subscribers, as likewise 
an account whether there be any prospect yet remaining 
of obtaining any favour from the Duke of (I think) 
Newcastle, in relation to the affair. 


"S. W." 

344 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

W« have already seen that the infirmities of Mr. 
Samuel Wesley were greatly increased by his labours on 
the Book of Job ; from which his advanced age forbade 
any hopes of recovery. Mrs. Wesley, in a letter to her 
son John, says, " Your father is in a very bad state of 
health ; he sleeps little, and eats less. He seems not to 
have any apprehension of his approaching exit ; but I 
fear he has but a short time to live. It is with much 
pain and difficulty that he performs divine service on 
the Lord's-day, which sometimes he is obliged to con- 
tract very much. Every body observes his decay but 
himself." He acted on the maxim, " Rather wear out 
than rust out;" and he sank, fairly worn out with 
labours, old age, and infirmities, April 25, 1735, in the 
72nd year of bis age. 

His two sons, John and Charles, were present at his 
death. The former gives the following brief account of 
it in a letter dated, Dublin, March 22, 1747: "My 
iather, during his last illness, which continued eight 
months, enjoyed a clear sense of his acceptance with 
God. I heard him express it more than once. 'The 
inward witness, son, the inward witness,' said he to me, 
' that is the proof, the strongest proof, of Christianity.' 
And when I asked him (the time of his change drawing 
nigh), ' Sir, are you in much pain?" he answered aloud, 
with a smile, ' God does chasten me with pain ; yea, all 
my bones with strong pain. But I thank him for all ; 
I bless him for all ; I love him for all." I think the 
last words he spoke, when I had just commended his 
soul to God, were, ' Now you have done all.' And with 
the same cheerful countenance he fell asleep, without 
one struggle, or sigh, or groan." 

In a sermon preached at Savannah, Feb. 20, 1736, 
Mr. John Wesley further adds, in giving an account of 


two persons ; ' going out of this life, in what I call (says 
he) a comfortahle manner;" the one, referring to the 
death of his father in England, the other to one at 
Savannah : " I attended the first," says he, " during a 
great part of his last trial, as well as when he yielded up 
his soul to God. He cried out, ' God doth chasten me 
with strong pain ; but I thank him for all ; I bless him 
for all; I love him for all.' When asked, not long 
before his release, ' Are the consolations of God small 
with you ?' he replied aloud, ' No, no, no !' Calling all 
that were near him by their names, he said, ' Think of 
heaven, talk of heaven ; all the time is lost when we 
are not thinking of heaven.' Now this was the voice 
of love. And so far as it prevailed, all was comfort, 
peace, and joy. But as his love was not perfect, so 
neither was his comfort. He had intervals of fretful- 
ness, and therein of misery; giving by both an incon- 
testable proof that love can sweeten both life and death." 
— Wesley's Works, vol. xi., p. 130. 

Mr. Charles Wesley's account, however, in a letter to 
his brother Samuel, is the most circumstantial ; and is 
as follows : — 

" Eprvorth, April 30th, 1735. 
" Dear Brother, 
" After all your desire of seeing my father alive, you 
are at last assured you must see his face no more, till 
raised in incorruption. You have reason to envy us, 
who could attend him in the last stage of his illness. 
The few words he uttered I have saved. Some of them 
were, ' Nothing too much to suffer for heaven. The 
weaker I am in body, the stronger and more sensible 
support I feel from God. There is but a step between 
me and death. To-morrow I would see you all with 
me round this table, that we may once more drink of 

346 of mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

the c«p of blessing, before we drink of it new in the 
kingdom of God. With desire hare I desired to eat 
this passorer with you before I die.' 

" The morning he was to communicate, he was so 
exceeding weak and full of pain, that he could not 
without the utmost difficulty receive the elements, often 
repeating, ' Thou shakest me ! thou shakest me !' But 
immediately after receiving, there followed the most 
visible alteration. He appeared full of faith and peace, 
which extended even to his body ; for he was so much 
better, that we almost hoped he would have recovered. 
The fear of death he had entirely conquered; and at 
last gave up his latest human desires, of finishing Job 
paying his debts, and seeing you. He often laid his 
hands upon my head, and said, ' Be steady. The Chris- 
tian faith will surely revive in this kingdom ; you shall 
see it, though I shall not.' To my sister Emily he said, 
' Do not be concerned at my death ; God will then 
begin to manifest himself to my family.' When we 
were met about him, his usual expression was, ' Now let 
me hear you talk about heaven.' On my asking him, 
whether he did not find himself worse, he replied, ' O 
my Charles, I feel a great deal. God chastens me with 
strong pain ; but I praise him for it ; I thank him for 
it ; I love him for it.' On the 25th his voice failed him, 
and nature seemed entirely spent ; when on my brother's 
asking, ' whether he was not near heaven ?' he answered 
distinctly, and with the most of hope and triumph that 
could be expressed in sounds, ' Yes, I am.' He spoke 
once more, just after my brother had used the commen- 
datory prayer. His last words were, 'Now you have 
done all.' This was about half an hour after six ; from 
which time till sun-set he made signs of offering up 
himself, till my brother having again used the prayer, 
the very moment it was finished he expired. 


" His passage was so smooth and insensible, that, 
notwithstanding the stopping of his pulse, and ceasing 
of all sign of life and motion, we continued over him a 
good while, in doubt whether the soul was departed or 
no. My mother, who, for several days before he died, 
hardly ever went into his chamber but she was carried 
out again in a fit, was far less shocked at the news than 
we expected ; and told us that ' now she was heard, in 
his having so easy a death, and her being strengthened 
so to bear it.' 

" Though you have lost your chief reason for coming, 
yet there are others which make your presence more 
necessary than ever. My mother would be exceedingly 
glad to see you as soon as can be. 

" We have computed the debts, and find they amount 
to above £100, exclusive of cousin Richardson's. Mrs. 
Knight, her landlady, seized all her quick stock, valued 
at above £40, for £15 my father owed her, on Monday 
last, the day he was buried.* And my brother this after- 
noon gives a note for the money, in order to get the 
stock at liberty to sell, for security of which he has 
the stock made over to him, and will be paid as it can 
be sold. My father was buried very frugally, yet de- 
cently, in the church-yard, according to his own desire. 

" It will be highly necessary to bring all accounts of 
what he owed you, that you may mark all the goods in 
the house as principal creditor, and thereby secure to my 
mother time and liberty to sell them to the best ad- 
vantage. Chartas omnes, et epistolas prcecipuas opposita 
cera in adventum tuum reserw. QAU papers and letters 

* It appears from the register of burials belonging to Epworth 
church, that he was buried on the 28th of April, three days after 
his death. — Editor. 

348 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

of importance I hare sealed up, and keep till you 

" Kezzy and Mr. H. have parted for ever. Your 
advice in hers, and in many other cases, will be abso- 
lutely necessary. If you take London in your way, my 
mother desires you will remember that she is a clergy- 
man's widow. Let the society give her what they please, 
she must be still in some degree burdensome to you, as 
she calls it. How do I envy you that glorious burden, 
and wish I could share it with you ! You must put me 
in some way of getting a little money, that I may do 
something in this shipwreck of the family, though it 
be no more than furnishing a plank. 

" I should be ashamed of having so much business in 
my letter, were it not necessary. I would choose to 
write and think of nothing but my father. 'Ere we 
meet, I hope you will have finished his elegy.* 
" Your affectionate brother, 

" Charles Wesley." 
" To the Rev. Mr. Wesley, 

at Tiverton, Devon." 

I believe Mr. Samuel had not only a high esteem, but 
also an ardent affection, for his father ; and therefore to 
be deprived of the opportunity of witnessing his closing 
scene must have been to him the cause of deep affliction 
and regret. When Mr. Charles states in the above letter 
that his father gave up his last human hopes, of seeing 
his son Samuel, finishing his Dissertations on Job, and 
paying his debts, the sympathetic reader will anxiously 
inquire — what were these debts ? They were small ; 
and more property was left than was necessary to cover 
* See the succeeding pages for the " Elegy" referred to. 


them all. For on examination, Mr. Charles tells us, they 
were found to amount only to a little more than one 
hundred pounds, independently of some pecuniary obliga- 
tions to some parts of his own family! Such a debt, 
when enough was left to pay it, need not have occupied, 
in any serious way, his last moments. 

His death may he found recorded not only in the 
Gentleman's Magazine, as already noticed, but also in 
the London Magazine, and Political Events, of the same 
year ; in both of which he is designated, " the Rev. and 
Learned Samuel Wesley;" thus confirming the epithet 
which Pope applied to him. A correspondent in the 
Gentleman's Magazine for 1818, p. 601, thus speaks of 
him : " Mr. Samuel Wesley was a man of considerable 
learning and great ingenuity. His paraphrase of the 
Book of Job incontestably proves the extent and depth 
of his erudition. His poetry, indeed, is not generally 
admired ; yet there is one performance which abundantly 
compensated for all those in which he failed — his trans- 
lation of Eupolis's Hymn to the Creator." This hymn 
has already passed in review. 

We have seen, in the letter of Mrs. Wesley to her 
son John, giving an account of Mr. Wesley's dangerous 
fall (see p. 309), that in 1731 they had rented a piece of 
ground from a Mrs. Knight, at Low Millwood. It is 
very probable that Mr. Wesley held this ground till he 
died ; for we find, in a part of the preceding letter, that 
£15 were owing to this Mrs. Knight at the time of his 
interment. This inhuman woman, who appears to have 
been a widow herself, took advantage of the family dis- 
tress ; and not having the fear of God before her eyes, 
and instigated thereto by the malice of the devil, seized 
the whole of poor Mr. Wesley's cattle on the same day, 
without giving one hour's grace for the payment! A 
more unfeeling, a more abominable, a more inhuman act, 

350 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

I neve» heard of. I record this action, that I may hand 
down the name of this Mrs. Knight, and all such un- 
piteous and cruel characters, with deserved infamy, while 
my page shall last : 

" And time their blacker name shall blurr with blackest ink." 

In a periodical publication, for its matter and spirit 
below criticism, inflammatory and contemptible, this act 
of justice against this cruel woman's conduct has been 
severely censured. It does not appear that the writer of 
the article thought the conduct of this woman very re- 
prehensible, and in similar circumstances would have 
acted a similar part. " My soul, come not thou into their 
secret : my honour, be not thou united unto them." 

Mr. Wesley lies buried in Epworth church-yard, under 
a plain grit tomb-stone, supported by brick- work; on 
which is engraved the following inscription. I give it 
line for line with the original. 

Lyeth all that was 
Mortal of Samuel Wesley, 
A. M. He was rector of Ep- 
worth 39 years and departed 
this Life 25 of April 1735 
Aged 72. 
As he liv'd so he died, 
in the true Catholick Faith 
of the Holy Trinity in Unity, 
And that Jesus Christ is God 
incarnate : and the only 
Saviour of Mankind, 

Acts iv. 12. 
Blessed are the dead 
Which die in the Lord, yea 
saith the Spirit that they may 
rest from their Labours and 
their works do follow them. 
Rev. xiv. 13. 


This was the original inscription, cut in the manner 
above represented ; under whose direction and manage- 
ment I cannot tell. Becoming nearly obliterated, the 
brick-work was repaired in the year 1819, the stone 
turned and recut, with the same inscription ; only the 
lines do not all end in the same way as above, but with 
equal absurdity and unskilfulness in the division. 

The whole is utterly unworthy of the man, the Chris- 
tian, and the minister ; and as the family is now nearly 
extinct, it is hoped that the Methodist body will erect a 
decent monument for the father of John Wesley, their 
founder, that may serve to perpetuate the memory of his 
excellence; and their gratitude to God, who from this 
source raised up the man who has been such a blessing 
to the British nation, to the isles of the sea, and to 
the ends of the earth. 

It has been supposed that the poem, entitled, " The 
Parish Priest," written by S. Wesley, jun., was in me- 
mory of his father, the rector of Epworth ; but there is 
decisive evidence that Mr. S. Wesley draws in it the 
character of his father-in-law, the Rev. John Berry, 
vicar of Wotton, in Norfolk. See in the memoir of 
Sam. Wesley, jun., where the poem is inserted, and the 
evidence adduced. The poem really addressed to his . 
own father is the following, which should not be passed 


Arise, my song ! with utmost vigour rise, 
And bear a long-tried virtue to the skies. 
Ere yet his soul, released from mouldering clay, 
Springs from the slighted earth, and wings away, 
Essay thy strength ; let praise salute his ear, — 
The only truth he never wished to hear. 

352 op mb. weslby's ancestors. 

J-et but a father read with favouring eyes, 

And bless me yet again before he dies ; 

Paid are the strains ! His blessing far outweighs 

A courtier's patronage, or critic's praise, 

Or a Young's pension, or a Dryden's bays. 

With opening life, his early worth began ; 
The boy misleads not, but foreshows the man. 
Directed wrong, though first he missed the way, 
Trained to mistake, and disciplined to stray, 
Not long, for reason gilded error's night, 
And doubts well-founded shot a dawn of light. 
Nor prejudice o'erswayed his heart and head : 
Resolved to follow Truth where'er she led, 
The radiant track audacious to pursue, 
From fame, from interest, and from friends he flew. 
Those shocked him first who laughed at human sway. 
Who preach, " Because commanded, disobey," 
Who law's and gospel's bonds in sunder rend, 
And blush not Bradshaw's saintship to defend. 
Alike the crown and mitre who foreswore, 
And scoffed profanely at the martyr's gore, 
Though not in vain the sacred current flowed, 
Which gave this champion to the church of God. 

No worldly views the real convert call ; 
He sought God's altar when it seemed to fall ; 
To Oxford hasted, even in dangerous days. 
When royal anger struck the fated place ; 
When senseless policy was pleased to view 
With favor, all religions but the true. 
When a king's hand stretched out amazed they saw, 
And troops were ordered to supply the law ; 
Then luckless James possessed the British throne, 
And for the papal grandeur risked his own ; 
Enraged at all who dared his schemes oppose, 
Stern to his friends, but ductile to his foes. 
Then Jesuits wild our church's fall combined 
Till Rome, to save her, with Geneva joined. 
Lo ! Orange sails, the prudent and the brave, 
Our fears to scatter, and our rights to save. 


This Briton's'* pen first pleaded William's cause, 
And pleaded strongly for our faith and laws. 

Nor yet unmentioned shall in silence lie 

His slighted and derided poetry. 

Should Brownt revile, or Swift my song despise, 

Should other Garths, and other legions rise : 

Whate'er his strains, still glorious was his end, 

Faith to assert, and virtue to defend. 

He sung how God the Saviour deigned t' expire, 

With Vida's piety, though not his fire. 

Deduced his Maker's praise from age to age, 

Through the long annals of the sacred page ; 

Not cursed like syren Dryden to excel, 

Who strewed with flowerets fair the way to hell ; 

With atheist doctrines, loosest morals joined, 

To rot the body, and to damn the mind : 

All faith he scoffed, all virtue bounded o'er, 

And thought the world well bartered for a whore ; 

Sworn foe to good, still pleading Satan's cause, 

He crowned the devil's martyrs with applause. 

No Christian e'er would wish that dangerous height: 

" Nor would I write like him ; like him to write, 

" If there's hereafter, and a last Great Day, 

" What fire's enough to purge his stains away 1 

" How will he wish each lewd applauded line, 

" That makes vice pleasing, and damnation slune, 

" Had been as dull as honest Quarles', or mine !" 

So chaunts the bard his unapplauded lays. 

While Dunton's prose a golden medalj pays, 

And Gibber's forehead wears the regal bays. 

Though not inglorious was the poet's fate, 

Liked and rewarded by the good and great ; 

For gracious smiles not pious Anne denied. 

And beauteous Mary blessed him when she died. 

* See p. 320. 
t Censures of New Testament in Verse. 
$ On the accession of George I., Dunton was presented with a 
gold medal, by order of his Majesty, in consequence of soma 

354 op mr. wesley's ancestors. 

From some family papers, I learn that Mr. Samuel 
Wesley was of a short stature ; of a spare, but athletic 
make ; and, from what I can collect, nearly resembling 
in person his son John. This is further confirmed by 
Palmer, who, in his controversy, says : " The Great Sal- 
masius trembled before Milton;" to which Mr. Wesley 
replies, "As much, I suppose, as little Wesley before 
his nameless adversary ." See Palmer's Defence, p. 18 ; 
Wesley's Defence, p. 54. It is very likely that the pic- 
ture engraved by Vertue, and prefixed to his Disserta- 
tions on the Book of Job, was a correct resemblance; 
the hands, however, are out of all proportion to the rest 
of the picture. 

His spirit and temper may be seen in his writings, and 
in the preceding account. I have taken pains also to in- 
quire upon the spot, concerning this man and his com- 
munications, and have had the highest character of his 
moral worth and pastoral diligence. 

He was earnest, conscientious, and indefatigable in 
his search after truth. He thought deeply on every sub- 
ject which was either to form an article in his creed, or 
a principle for his conduct. And having formed these, 
he boldly maintained them ; conscious of his own inte- 
grity, and zealous for what he conceived to be the 
orthodox faith. His orthodoxy was pure and solid ; his 
religious conduct strictly correct in all respects ; his piety 

political tracts which he wrote. Of these, the best was " Neck or 
Nothing," which passed through ten editions, and which is highly 
commended by Swift. Dunton was mortified when his appeal for 
a pension was disregarded ; and, by way of revenge, published a 
" ]N arrative, entitled, Mordecai's Memorial ; or, there's nothino- done 
for him ; and proving, it is now a national complaint, that the 
author of ' Neck or Nothing' has gone nine years unrewarded for 
his distinguished services to his king and country." 


towards God ardent ; his loyalty to his king unsullied ; 
and his love to his fellow-creatures strong and uncon- 
fined. Though of high-church principles, and high- 
church politics, yet he could separate the man from the 
opinions he held, and the party he had espoused ; and 
when he found him in distress, knew him only as a 
friend and brother. He was a rigid disciplinarian both 
in his church and his family. He knew all his parish- 
ioners ; and he knew them as the flock over which he 
believed the Holy Spirit had made him an overseer ; and 
for whom he must give account to the Great Bishop and 
Shepherd of souls. He visited his parishioners from 
house to house; he sifted their creed, and permitted 
none to be corrupt in their opinions or in their practices, 
without instruction or reproof. 

These things have been attested to me by aged respect- 
able inhabitants of Epworth ; to whom the memory of 
the man and the pastor is still dear. 

This is supported by Mr. John Wesley, in a letter 
to a gentleman who desired he would send him an 
account of what Mr. Samuel Wesley called his Notitia 
Parochialis ; to whom he replies, dating his letter from 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nov. 16, 1742: "My father's 
method was to visit all his parishioners, sick or well, 
from house to house, to talk with each of them on the 
things of God, and observe severally the state of their 
souls. What he then observed, he minuted down in a 
book kept for that purpose. In this manner he went 
through his parish (which was near three miles long), 
three times. He was visiting it the fourth time round, 
when he fell into his last sickness." 

His family he kept in the strictest order ; and though 
authoritative in all his deportment towards them, yet he 
was ever sufficiently tender; so that he had entirely 
secured their affection and respect. It is pleasing to 



behoy. this in all the letters that passed between him 
and his children. Had not his authority and parental 
tenderness been duly attempered, his children would 
have either feared him as their judge, or treated him as 
their play-fellow. I have often seen great evils produced 
by parents acting on one only of these opposite extremes. 

As a controversial writer, he had considerable dexterity 
in managing an argument, and defending himself. But 
he sometimes betrays an acrimony of spirit against his 
opponents ; the common fault of polemic divines. 

To his judicious method of instructing and managing 
his family we owe, under God, many of those advantages 
and blessings, which, as a religious people, we possess ; 
and even on this account, his name among the Methodists 
should be held in everlasting remembrance. 

Mr. Wesley had a large share of vivacity. In his 
private conversation he was very entertaining and in- 
structive. He had a large fund of anecdote, and a pro- 
fusion both of witty and wise sayings, which he knew 
well how to apply for the instruction or correction of 
those who were favoured with his company. 

The extempore lines spoken by him at the house of 
an eccentric and covetous man, at Temple Belwood, near 
Epworth, who had acted contrary to the whole tenor of 
his life, in giving a dinner to Mr. W. and some other 
gentlemen, are a proof of his wit, and ready felicity in 
composition : — . 

" Behold a miracle ! for 'tis no less 

Than eating manna in the wilderness. 

Here some have starved, where we have found relief, 

And seen the wonders of a chine of beef. 

Here chimnies smoke, which never smoked before ; 

And we have dined, where we shall dine no more." * 

* A different version of these lines is given in the Gentleman's 
Mag. 1802 ; and in Watson's Life of Weslev. — Editor. 


It is said, that the gentleman confirmed the closing line, 
hy immediately adding, " No, gentlemen ; it is too ex- 

This anecdote is from a gentleman of Gainsborough, 
whose grandfather was a clergyman in the neighbour- 
hood of Epworth, contemporary with Mr. .Wesley, and 
probably one of the dinner party. 

Mr. "Wesley had a clerk, a well-meaning, honest, but 
weak and vain man. He believed the rector, his 
master, to be the greatest man in the parish — if not in 
the county; and himself, as he stood next to him in 
church ministrations, to be next to him in worth and 
importance. He had the advantage and privilege of 
wearing out Mr. Wesley's cast off clothes and wigs, for 
the latter of which his head was by far too small ; and 
the figure he cut in it was most ludicrously grotesque. 
The rector, finding him particularly vain of one of those 
canonical substitutes for hair which he had lately re- 
ceived, formed the design to mortify him in the presence 
of that congregration before which John wished to appear 
in every respect what he thought himself, in his near 
approach to his master. One morning, before church 
time, Mr. W. said, " John, I shall preach on a particular 
subject to-day j and shall choose niy own psalm, of 
which I shall give out the first line, and you shall pro- 
ceed as usual." John was pleased ; and the service went 
forward as it was wont to do till they came to the sing- 
ing, when Mr Wesley gave out the following line, 

" Like to an owl in ivy bust" — 
This was sung ; and the following line, John, peeping 
out of the large canonical wig in which his head was 
half lost, gave out, with an audible voice, and appropriate 
connecting twang — . 

" that rueful thing ami!" 

358 or mr. wesley's ancestors. 

The» whole congregation, struck with John's appearance, 
saw and felt the similitude, and could not refrain from 

The rector was pleased ; for John was mortified, and 
his self-conceit lowered.* 

This is the same man who, when king William re- 
turned to London after some of his expeditions, gave 
out in Epworth church — " Let us sing, to the praise and 
glory of God, a hymn of my own composing : — 

"King William is come home, come home, 

King William home is come ; 
Therefore let us together sing 

The hymn that's called ' Te D'um.' " 

* I have met with three editions of this story : — 

1. That the anecdote relates to another person, and to anothei 
parish, and was related as such by Mr. S. Wesley, sen., to his 

2. The story is true, as far as connected with the rector of Ep- 
worth and his clerk ; but the choice of the psalm was entirely 
casual. It was chosen by the clerk himself, and not by the rector; 
and must be considered inconsistent with that gravity and deep 
reverential decorum with which Mr. S. Wesley conducted everv 
part of divine worship. 

3. The third is that which I have related above. 
The first is all apocrypha. 

The second has the semblance of truth, and is related in this 
way among the remaining branches of the family ; and with the 
reasons assigned above. 

The third, which I believe to be the truth, I had from Mr. John 
Wesley himself; and, as near as I can possibly recollect, in the 
very words given above. 

A critic, in the Methodist Magazine for 1824, p. 251, takes up 
the story confidently in the second sense, and questions the pro- 
priety of its being introduced at all, as being worthless in itself. 


I may add, that a sycamore-tree, planted by Mr. Wes- 
ley in Epworth church-yard, is now (1821) two fathoms 
in girth, and proportionably large in height, boughs, and 
branches ; but is decaying at the root, where the tree is 
now becoming hollow : a melancholy emblem of the 
state of a very eminent family, in which the prophetic 
office and spirit had flourished for nearly two hundred 

Had I been of this opinion, it would not have been introduced at 
first ; and could I alter my opinion, it would not be continued. I 
cannot view this simple anecdote in the light which some have 
done : from all I have learnt of the person in question, it was the 
only way in which a weak, well-meaning, but vain man, could be 
cured of a vanity discreditable to himself, and troublesome to 
others ; and I think the means employed were as innocent as they 
were appropriate and efficient. But it was not in reference to 
this merely that I introduced the account ; it is characteristic of the 
man, and it is from facts of this nature that the biographer forms 
a proper estimate of the character he describes. If he avail not 
himself of such incidents as these, he may plod on, in dry detail of 
facts, destitute of all enlivening circumstances, which can be but 
little pleasing to himself, and must be unsatisfactory, if not insup- 
portable, to his readers. The three forms of this story are now 
before the reader, and he may receive which he pleases : that 
which I believe to be authentic, I have related as such. As to the 
petulant* critic in the magazine, he is worthy of little notice. He 
was unacquainted with the whole business ; was misled by report ; 
and should have held his peace. 

* "Petulant" is unusually severe, as an epithet on such an occasion, from 
the pen of Dr. Clarke ; but he had a tolerably correct knowledge of the 
reviewer, who had sought for opportunities to assail him in other instances. 
To that gentleman the doctor owed nothing, though he had, by way of heaping 
coals of Ore on his head, embraced occasions to serve him ; and his private 
opinion was, , as appears from his own correspondence, that the writer had 
another object in view, besides that of giving an honest critique. " It appeared 
to me," says he, when referring to the first edition of the ' Wesley Family,' 
" that the review of it in the Methodist Magazine was designed to disparage 
it."— Editor. 

360 of Mr. wesley's ancestors. 

year^* but now nearly dried up from the earth, and is 
no more likely to give a messenger to the churches, or 
a healer to Israel ! unless it revive in the fourth gene- 
ration, in a young gentleman of good promise, Charles, 
grandson of the late Eev. Charles "Wesley, who has 
lately entered into holy orders ; and on whom may a 
double portion of the spirit of his progenitors descend 
and abide ! 

I have dwelt the longer upon this life, as no adequate 
justice has ever yet been done to it, though it is of the 
utmost consequence in the history of Methodism, for 
reasons which have doubtless appeared to the reader in 
its perusal. 

The rector of Epworth has been frequently noticed as 
a biblical critic. His judgment relative to the Greek 
Version of the Septuagint, and its use in biblical criti- 
cism, he has given in a dissertation on that Version ; 
which, as far as I know, is unfortunately lost. Several 
letters, containing, probably, the substance of it, and 
which I judge too valuable to be suppressed, will be 
found in No. 3 Appendix, at the end of these Memoirs. 

I have mentioned him also as a conscientious disci- 
plinarian. Of this abundant evidence will be found in 

* Mr.Wesley,in alerter to his brother Charles, dated London, Jan. 
15, 1768, remarks : " So far as I can learn, such a thing has scarce 
been for these thousand years before, as a son, father, grandfather, 
atavus, tritavus, preaching the gospel, nay, and the genuine gospel, 
in a line. You know Mr. White, sometime chairman of the 
Assembly of Divines, was my grandmother's father." — Works, 
last edit., vol. xii., p. 125. Query : Is this the Thomas White 
whose name stands in the petition of the ministers of London to 
the king, to which Calamy and other eminent men appended their 
names, in 1662 ? — Editor. 


a curious correspondence, No. 4 Appendix, at the end of 
the Memoirs. 

On the facts and incidents the most implicit confi- 
dence may be safely placed, as they are all taken from 
authentic documents. 


Dr. Samuel Annesley is too nearly connected with 
the Wesley family, as being the father of Susanna, 
wife of the rector of Epworth, to be passed by with- 
out notice, in any memoirs of this family. 

Dr. Samuel Annesley was born at Haxeley in War- 
wickshire, in the year 1620. He was descended of a 
good family; for his father, and the then Earl of An- 
glesea, were brother's children."'- He was the only 
child of his parents, and had a considerable paternal 

* The family of Annesley, or Annesly, or as it is in Domesday 
Book, Aneslei, is of great antiquity ; deriving its name from the 
wapentake of Oswardebec, or Broxton, in the county of Notting- 
ham, of which the family was possessed before the Conquest ; and 
Richard de Aneslei was proprietor of it in 1086, when the Domes- 
day Survey was taken by command of the Conqueror. 

To him succeeded Ralph de Aneslei, called Brito de Bret ; who 
gave to St. Mary, and the house of Felly, in the county of Notting- 
ham, and to the brethren thereof, the domain and sole right of the 
patronage of the Church of Aneslei, in pure alms for the salvation 
of himself, his wife, and heirs, and for the relief of his departed 
friends : which donation was confirmed to the canons by Geoffry, 
archbishop of York. 

I must pass by the splendid marriages and heraldic honours of 
this family, continued from the Conquest down to the 17th cen- 
tury ; and briefly note, that — 


362 of mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

estate. His father dying when he was but four years 
of age, his education devolved on his pious mother, 
who brought him up in the fear of the Lord; and as 

Francis Annesley, created Baron Mount Norris, and Viscount 
Valentia, was Secretary of State and Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, 
in the reign of Charles I. 

Arthur Annesley, first Earl of Anglesea, was his eldest son by 
his first wife, and succeeded his father in his Irish honours. He 
was distinguished for his loyalty to Charles II., to whom he strictly 
adhered during his exile, and advanced his interest at the hazard 
of his life and property ; for which, after the Restoration, this 
Baron Annesley, of Newport Pagnel, and Earl of the Isle of An- 
glesea, was appointed one of the Commissioners for settling the 
affairs of Ireland, where he was then Vice-Treasurer and Receiver- 
General. In 1673, he was made Lord Privy Seal, and one of the 
Privy council in both kingdoms. He died in 1686, leaving seven 
sons and six daughters. Dr. Samuel Annesley was brother's son 
to this first Earl of Anglesea. 

The aforesaid Francis Viscount Valentia had by his second wife, 
who was daughter to Sir John Stanhope, brother to the first Earl 
of Chesterfield, seven sons and two daughters. Francis, George, 
and Samuel lived ; the other sons died young. George was 
drowned in the Thames, stepping into a packet-boat with despatches 
for Charles II. Samuel married, and died without issue. Francis 
Annesley was attainted by King James's Parliament, for opposing 
the arbitrary measures of that prince, by raising some horse and 
foot in the north of Ireland. He married the daughter of the 
Bishop of Meath, by whom he had Francis his heir, and Arthur 
and Henry, who died without issue. 

Francis was appointed, by act of Parliament of King William, 
one of the Trustees for the sale of forfeited estates in Ireland ; and 
in the 9th of Queen Anne, one of the Commissioners for Public 
Accounts. He was elected member of parliament for Preston, in 
1705, and for Westbury, in six succeeding parliaments. He was 
the first promoter in the House of Commons for building fifty new 
churches in the city of London ; and one of the Commissioners 
for that purpose. 


he was inclined from his earliest youth to the work 
of the ministry, she took care to procure him a suit- 
able education. 

His grandmother, who was a very pious woman, dying 
before he was born, requested that the child, if a boy, 

He married, first, in 1695, the daughter of Sir John Martin, of 
London, by whom he had seven sons and two daughters. Ihe 
eldest son was Francis, LL.D., rector of Winwick, in Lancashire. 
John, the fourth Earl of Anglesea, was in the Privy Council of 
Queen Anne. Arthur, his brother, was in three parliaments during 
her reign, and was one of the privy council to George I. 

On the death of the sixth Earl of Anglesea, who was created 
Lord Altham, and died without issue, the title devolved on Richard 
Annesley, D. D., Prebend of Westminster, and Dean of Exeter. 

Dr. Francis Annesley, rector of Winwick, married the daughter 
of Robert Gager, of Stoke Paget, Bucks., by the lady Anne, daugh- 
ter of James, the second earl of Anglesea, his cousin. 

Francis Annesley, Esq., D. C. L., Master of Downing College, 
Cambridge, who sat in six parliaments, and was in 1805 member 
for Reading, since dead, was a descendant from Dr. Samuel An- 
nesley. He was one of the trustees of the British Museum, repre- 
senting the family of Sir Robert Cotton. 

We see that the family of Annesley was among the most an- 
cient and respectable in the kingdom, and existed previously to the 
Norman Conquest. 

The connexion of the present Wesley family with the Annesleys 
stands thus : — John Wesley, late Fellow of Lincoln College, Ox- 
ford, was son to Samuel and Susanna Wesley. Susanna was 
daughter to Dr. Samuel Annesley. Dr. Annesley was son to 
Annesley, who was brother to Arthur, first Earl of An- 

In some of the original letters of Mrs. Wesley, I find that she 
sealed with the Annesley arms, which are paly of six pieces, argent 
and azure ; a bend gules ; crest a blackamore's head sidefaced 
proper, wreathed about the temples, argent and azure. 

B 2 

364. or mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

should be called Samuel ; for, said she, " I can say, I 
have asked him of the Lord."* He was piously dis- 
posed from his earlier years, and his heart set on being 
a preacher of the gospel ; and to qualify him for that 
sacred work, he began when he was only five or six 
years old seriously to read the Bible ; and so ardent was 
he in this study, that he bound himself to read twenty 
chapters every day, a practice which he continued to the 
end of his life. This made him a good textuary ; and, 
consequently, an able divine. Though a child when he 
formed the resolution to be a minister of the gospel, it is 
said he never varied from his purpose ; nor was he dis- 
couraged by a singular dream, in which " he thought he 
was a minister, and was sent for by the Bishop of London 
to be burnt as a martyr." 

When he was fifteen years of age, he went to the 
university of Oxford, and entered of Queen's College, 
where he took his degrees at the usual times. While 
at the university, he was remarkable for temperance 

* To this derout act De Foe refers, in his " Character of the 
late Dr. Samuel Annesley, by way of Elegy :" — 

" His parents dedicated him by vow, 

To serve the church, and early taught him how. 

As Hannah, when she for her Samuel prayed, 

The welcome loan with thankfulness repaid ; 

So they, foreseeing 'twould not be in vain, 

Asked him of God, and vowed him back again ; 

And he again as early did prepare 

To list a willing soldier in the sacred war." 

See a scarce and " True Collection of the Writings of the Author 
of the True-Bom Englishman. Corrected by himself. London ; 
printed, and are to be sold by most booksellers in London and 
Westminster. 1703." — Editor. 


and industry ; and though he is said to have been but 
of slow parts, yet he supplied this defect in nature by 
prodigious application. There is some dispute with regard 
to his ordination ; that is to say, whether he received it 
from a bishop, or according to the Presbyterian method. 
Anthony Wood asserts the former, and Dr. Calamy the 
latter ; to decide between them will be difficult without 
further documentary evidence. 

In 1644 he became chaplain of His Majesty's ship 
Globe, under the command of the Earl of Warwick, 
then Lord High Admiral, who procured him his diploma 
of LL.D., having had an honourable certificate of his 
ordination signed by Mr. Gouge, and six other respect- 
able ministers. 

He spent some time in the fleet, and kept a Journal of 
the voyage, and is very particular as to what passed 
when the Earl of Warwick went to Holland in pursuit 
of the ships that had gone over to the prince. But not 
liking a seafaring life, he left the navy, and settled at 
ClifF, in Kent, in the place of a minister* who had been 
sequestered for scandalous conduct, such as attending 
public meetings of the people for dancing, drinking, and 
merriment on the Lord's-day. But it was like pastor 
like people; for the inhabitants of the place were so 
attached to their sinful leader, that when his successor 
came, they assailed him with spits, forks, and stones, 
threatening to take away his life. He told them that, 
" let them use him as they would, he was determined 
to stay with them till God should fit. them by his ministry 
to profit by one' better, who might succeed him; and 
solemnly declared, that when they became so prepared, 
he would leave the place." 

In a few years his labours had surprising success, so 
* Dr. Griffith Higges. — Editor. 


366 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

that the people became greatly reformed. However, he 
kept his word, and left them ; lest any seeming incon- 
sistency of his might prove a stumbling-block to his 
young converts; for though he had 4O01. per annum 
there, it was no temptation to him to induce him to 
break the promise he had made. 

In July 1648 he was called to London, to preach the 
fast sermon before the House of Commons, which, by 
their order, was printed. But though greatly approved 
by the parliament, it gave great offence to some other 
persons, as reflecting upon the king, then a prisoner in 
the Isle of Wight. This is the ground of Mr. "Wood's 
bitterness against him; arid it cannot be denied, that 
the author went all the lengths of the Presbyterian 

I give an extract from it : " The people are now, as 
then (viz., under the Jewish theocracy). ' We will have 
a king.' He hearkens to the people, and sets the king 
upon his throne ; they shout out, Vivat ; surely they are 
now happy. He reigns one year well — two years in- 
different. What then ? You see the scripture veils ; 
I waive it. What he did in the business of Amalek, 
Gibeon, David, Abimelech ; what wars, famine, cruelty, 
Israel lay under ; I would rather you should read than 
I speak; God give the king a spirit of grace and govern- 
, ment ! ' Woe unto thee, O land, when thy king is a 
child,' is rather meant of a child in manners, than in 
years."-^See Nichols's " Arminianism and Calvinism 
compared," p. 387- 

A very signal providence, it is said, directed him to a 

settlement in London, in 1652, by the unanimous choice 

of the inhabitants of St. John the Apostle. Soon after, 

in 1657, through ■Oliver Cromwell's nomination, he was 

* See Biog. Brit., article Annesley 


made lecturer of St. Paul's, and, in 1658, became vicar 
of St. Giles's, Cripplegate ; two of the largest congrega- 
tions in the city. 

On the 14th of May, 1659j he was appointed, by act 
of parliament, one of the commissioners for the appro- 
bation and admission of ministers of the gospel, after 
the presbyterian mode ; but that act soon vanished upon 
the restoration of Charles II. — See Atkence Oxoniensis, 
vol. iv. 

On the restoration, he was confirmed in the vicarage 
of St. Giles's by the king, who presented the living to 
him, Aug. 28, 1660. It was at that time worth 7001. 
per annum.* 

* The following pastoral address to the people over whom he 
was placed, the year after his confirmation, shows the deep concern 
he felt for their immortal interests : — 

To my beloved parishioners of St. Giles's, CrippUgate. 

Nov. 14, 1661. 
" My dear friends, 
" I never yet, that I remember, went through my parish, without 
some heart-aching yearnings towards my charge, to think how 
many thousands here are posting to eternity, that within a few 
years will be in heaven or hell, and I know not so much as to ask 
them whither they are going. While God continues me your 
watchman, I shall affectionately desire, and solicitously endeavour, 
to keep myself pure from the blood of all men ; and that, not only 
for the saving of my own soul, by delivering my message, but that 
you also may \ae saved by entertaining it. I can, without boasting, 
use the aposfle-'s' spiritually compassionate expressions: that I 
greatly long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ ; and this I 
pray, that your loVe (to truth and holiness) may abound yet more 
and more in saving knowledge, and in all sound judgment ; that 
you m«y practically approve things that are excellent ; that you 
may be sincerely gracious, and universally without offence, till 

368 of mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

Bu* this did not screen him from the oppressive opera- 
tion of the Act of Uniformity, by which he was ejected 
from this vicarage, in 1662, having been removed from 
his lectureship at St. Paul's about two years before. 
It is said the Earl of Anglesea took some pains to per- 
suade him to conform, and offered him preferment in 
case he complied. But the doctor, from conscience, 
declined the offer, and continued to preach privately 
during that and the following reigns. After this he met 
with many troubles for conscience' sake, and many signal 
deliverances. God was not pleased with his perse- 
cutors. One magistrate, while signing a warrant to 
apprehend him, dropped down dead! Might not the hand 
of God have been seen in this ? and yet the living laid 
it not to heart. 

Among the nonconformists, Dr. Annesley was particu- 
larly and deservedly eminent. He had in effect the care 
of all those churches ; and was the chief, often the sole, 
instrument in the education and subsistence of several 
ministers, of whose useful labours the church had other- 
wise been deprived. 

He licensed a meeting-house, on the indulgences in 
1672, in Little St. Helen's, now St. Helen's Place, 
Bishopsgate Street, where he raised a large and flourishing 
society, of which he continued pastor till his death. It 
was here, as appears from Calamy's Account of his own 

the day of Christ ; and that you may be filled with the fruits of 
righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise 
of God. These, my beloved, are, and shall be, through grace, 
the constant desires and restless endeavours of your most affec- 
tionate soul-servant, 

" Samuel Annesley." 
— Editor. 


Life, that the first public ordination among the dissenters 
took place after the passing of the Act of Uniformity. 
Till then, the ordination had been attended to in private; 
no person being present but those immediately con- 
cerned. Mr. Calamy, however, wished to be publicly 
ordained, and consulted several aged ministers in London 
respecting its propriety. In this he found considerable 
difficulty. Mr. Howe refused taking any part in it, 
through fear of offending government ; and Dr. Bates 
urged other reasons, in order to excuse himself. He 
was at length ordained, with six other young men, June 
22, 1694. Dr. Annesley, Vincent Alsop, Daniel Wil- 
liams, Thomas Kentish, Matthew Sylvester, and Richard 
Stretton assisted on the occasion ; and the service con- 
tinued from ten o'clock in the morning till six in the 

After the division in Pinners Hall Lecture, in 1694, 
and the establishment of a new one at Salter's Hall, 
Dr. Annesley was one of the ministers chosen to fill up 
the numbers at the latter, in conjunction with Dr. Bates 
and Mr. Howe. 

Of all gifts, salaries, and income, he always laid aside 
the tenths for charity, before any part was spent. By 
this means he had always a fund at hand for charitable 
uses, besides what he was furnished with by others for 
the same purposes. 

Dunton, speaking of two eminent ministers, says, " I 
might be large in their character; but when I tell you 
they are true pictures of Dr. Annesley (whom they count 
a second St. Paul), it is as high as I need go." In 
another place, he observes, " The great business of his 
life was to bring sinners to God. His nonconformity 
created him many troubles ; however, all the difficulties 
and disappointments he met with from an ungrateful 

370 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

world* did never alter the goodness and the cheerfulness 
of his humour." Elsewhere he remarks, " He had a 
good «state, hut this did not, as in too many instances, 
narrow his spirit, hut made him more charitable. He 
would scorn to be rich while any man was poor."* 

He Was the main support of the morning lecture, for 
which so many have cause to be thankful to God. And 
after the death of old' Mr. Case, of St. Mary Magdalene, 
Milk Street, who was the first that set up the morning 
exercises, Dr. Annesley took the care of this institution 
upon himself. 

This morning lecture, or exercise, originated in the 
following way. Most of the citizens -in London having 
some friend or relation in the army of the Earl of Essex, 
so many bills were sent up ! to -the pulpit every Lord's 
day for their preservation, that the ministers had not 
time to notice them in prayer, or even to read them. 
It was therefore agreed to set apart an hour- every morn- 
ing at seven o'clock ; half of it -to be spent in prayer 
for the welfare of the public, as well as particular cases; 
and the other half to be spent in exhortations to the 
people. Mr. Case began it in his church in Milk Street, 
from which it was removed to other remote churches in 

* De Foe, in his Elegy on Dr. Annesley, has this couplet : 

" With such a soul, that, had he mints in store, 
He'd ne'er he rich while any man was poor." 

It is of no importance whether Dunton or De Foe claim the 
last thought ; the good doctor bears away the credit of the virtue 
exhibited. De Foe further adds, 

" For if to gifts he ever was inclined, 
He laid none up, nor left us none behind." 



rotation, a month at each church. A number of the 
most eminent ministers conducted this service in turn ; 
and it was attended by great crow4s of people. After 
the heat of the war was over, it became what was called 
a casuistical lecture, and continued till the Restoration. 
The sermons delivered at these lectures were collected 
and published in six vols. 4to. 

It is worthy of remark, that the sermon on the ques- 
tion, Wherein lies that exact righteousness which is re- 
quired between man and man ? Matt. vii. 12 : " What- 
soever ye would that men should do to you," &c, was 
preached by Mr. Tillotson, afterwards archbishop of 
Canterbury, who then ranked with the "nonconformists ! 
See Neal's History of the Puritans, vol. i., p. 707, 4'to.;- 
and Nonconf. Memorial, vol. i., p. 125', &c. 

In August, 1685, Dunton, having consulted the doctor 
relative to a voyage to New England, in order to clear 
off a dead stock of books, and to collect sundry debts 
due to him, receive's the following answer :— 

" Tunbridge, August 10, 1685. 
"Dear son, ■•■■.<>■ »ij- .« 

" I received yours, but cannot give so particular and 
direct an answer as you may expect. The infinitely 
wise God direct you ! My opinion is, that you should 
not carry too great a cargo ; for I think it will be the 
less trouble to you, to wish there that you had brought 
more, than to fret at the want of a market for too many. 
If you observe the course of the world, the most of all 
worldly trouble is through frustration of our expectation : 
where we look not for much, we easily bear a disappoint- 
ment. Moderation in all things, but in love to God, 
and serious godliness, is highly commendable. Covet 
earnestly the best gifts, and the best graces, and the best 

372 of mr. wbsley's ancestors. 

enjoyments; for which you shall never, while I live, 
want the prayers of 

" Your most affectionate father, 

"S. Annesley." 

Dunton, on his arrival at Boston, wrote the doctor an 
account of his tedious and perilous voyage, to which he 
replied as follows : — 

" London, May 10, 1686. 
" Dear son, 
" I was glad to hear of your safe arrival, after your 
tedious and hazardous passage. Those mercies are most 
observed, and, through grace, the best improved, that 
are bestowed with some grievous circumstances. I hope 
the impression of your voyage will abide, though the 
danger be over. I know not what to say to you about 
your trading. Present providences upon present circum- 
stances must be observed ; and therefore I shall often (in 
prayer) recommend your case to God, who alone can, 
and, I hope, will, do both in you, and for you, exceed- 
ing abundantly beyond what can be asked or thought by 
" Your most affectionate father, 

"S. Annesley." 

In speaking of Dr. Annesley's character, Dr. Calamy 
says, " He was an Israelite indeed ; one that might be 
said to be sanctified from the womb, for he was early 
under serious impressions ; so that he himself said, he 
knew not the time when he was unconverted."* 

* De Foe, in the Elegy already quoted, dwells particularly on 
early piety : — 

" His piou3 course with childhood he begun, 
And was his Maker's sooner than his own ; 


He had a large soul, flaming zeal, and was remarkably 
successful in his ministry. 

He had great courage, as may be seen in his first 
settlement at Cliff, in Kent. He never feared the utmost 
malice of any of his enemies ; and nothing that he met 
with ever abated his cheerfulness. He had uninterrupted 
peaee in his soul, and assurance of God's favour, for 
thirty years before his death; though for some time 
before that, he had passed through severe mental exer- 
cises. The last time he entered the pulpit, being dis- 
suaded from preaching on account of his illness, he said, 
" I must work while it is day." 

In his last illness he was full of comfort, and could 
say, " Blessed be God ! I have been faithful in the 
work of the ministry for more than fifty-five years." 
Some of his last words were the following : — Just before 
his departure he often said, " Come, my dearest Jesus ! 
the nearer the more precious, the more welcome." 
Another time his joy was so great, that in an ecstasy he 

As if designed by instinct to be great, 
His judgment seemed to antedate his wit ; 
His soul outgrew the natural rate of years, 
And full-grown wit at half-grown youth appears J 
Early the vigorous combat he begun, 
And was an elder Christian than a man. 
The sacred study all his thoughts confined ; 
A sign what secret hand prepared his mind : 
The heavenly book he made his onlv school, 
In youth his study, and in age his rule. 
Thus he in blooming years and hopes began, 
Happy, beloved, and blessed of God and man ; 
Solid, yet vigorous too, both grave and young, 
A taking aspect, and a charming tongue." 


374 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

cjrigitout, " I cannot contajn it ! "What manner of love 
is this to a poor worm ! t cannot express the thousandth 
part of what praise is due to thee ! It is but little I can 
give thee ; but, Lord, help me to give thee my all ! I 
will die praising thee, and rejoice that others can praise 
thee better. I shall be satisfied with thy likeness. 
Satisfied ! satisfied ! O my dearest Jesus ! I come !" 

See the funeral sermon preached for him by Dr. "Wil- 
liams ;* and his character as drawn by De Foe.t 

During seventeen weeks' pain, though he had before 
enjoyed an uninterrupted course of health, he never dis- 
covered the least degree of impatience ; and quietly re- 
signed bis soul to,God, Dec. 31, 1696, aged 77 years. 

* Mr. John Wesley republished this excellent Sermon in the 
Arminian Mag., vol. xv., p. 248. — Editor. 

t Be Foe, as well as his parents, sat under Dr. Annesley's min- 
istry ; and Daniel, in all probability, owed, under God, the best 
part of .his religious training to this exemplary and learned divine. 
In the Elegy, more than once referred to, he associates himself 
with the doctor's auditory : — 

" The sacred bow he so divinely drew, 
That every shot both hit and overthrew. 
His native candour and familiar style, 
Which did so oft his hearers' hours beguile, 
Charmed us with godliness ; and while he spake, 
We loved the doctrine for the teacher's sake. 
While he informed us what those doctrines meant, 
By dint of practice more than argument, 
Strange were the charms, of his sincerity, 
Which made his actions and his words agree, 
At such a constant and exact a rate, 
As made a harmony we wondered at." 

And again : — 

" Long he charmed us with his heavenly song.' 



Dr. Anneisley's figure was fine ; his countenance dig- 
nified, highly expressive, and amiable. His constitution, 
naturally strong and robust, was capable of any kind of 
fatigue. He was seldom indisposed ; and could endure 
the coldest weather without hat, gloves, or fire. For 
many years he scarcely ever drank any thing but water ; 
and even to his last sickness his sight continued so 
strong that he could read the smallest print without 
spectacles. His piety, diligence, and zeal caused him 
to be highly esteemed, not only by the dissenters, but 
by all who knew hina. The celebrated Richard Baxter, 
who was no eulogist, says, " Dr. Annesley is a most 
sincere, godly, humble man, totally devoted to God." 

A curious anecdote is entered by his grandson, Mr. J. 
Wesley, in his Journal :— " Monday, Feb. 6, 1769, I 
spent an hour with a venerable woman, nearly ninety 
years of age, who retains her health, her senses, her 
understanding, and even her memory to a good degree. 
In the last century she belonged to my grandfather An- 
nesley's congregation, at whose house her father and she 
used to dine every Thursday, and whom she remem- 
bers to have seen frequently, in his study at the top 
of the house, with his window open, and without any 
fire winter or summer. He lived seventy-seven years ; 
and would probably have lived longer had he not begun 
water-drinking at seventy." This had been a former 
practice, for Anthony Wood particularly remarks, that 
from the time he entered Queen's college, at the age of 
fifteen, he usually drank nothing but water. 

His remains were deposited by the side of his wife's, 
in Shoreditch church; and Dunton states, that the 
Countess of Anglesea desired, on her death-bed, to be 
buried, as she expressed it, " upon the coffin of that 
good man, Dr. Annesley." — Life and Errors, p. 280. 

376 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

His last will and testament is too singular to be 

" In the name of God ! Amen. 

" I, Doctor Samuel Annesley, of the liberty of Nor- 
ton Folgate, in the county of Middlesex, an unworthy 
minister of Jesus Christ, being, through mercy, in health 
of body and mind, do make this my last Will and Tes- 
tament, concerning my earthly pittance. 

" For my soul, I dare humbly say, it is through grace 
devoted unto God (otherwise than by legacy) when it 
may live here no longer. I do believe that my body, 
after its sleeping awhile in Jesus, shall be reunited to 
my soul, that they may both be for ever with the Lord. 

" Of what I shall leave behind me, I make this short 
disposal, — 

" My just debts being paid, I give to each of my 
children one shilling, and all the rest to be equally 
divided between my son Benjamin Annesley, my daugh- 
ter Judith ..Annesley, and my daughter Ann Annesley, 
whom I make my Executors of this my last Will and 
Testament ; revoking all former, and confirming this with 
my hand and seal this 29 of March, 1693. 

"Samuel Annesley."* 

Among his works, which are neither numerous nor 
large, are, — 

1. A Fast Sermon before the House of Commons, 
July 26, 1648 : Job xxvii. 5, 6. 

2. Communion with God ; two Sermons at St. Paul's, 
1654-55 : Ps. lxxiii. 25, 26. 

3. A Sermon at St. Lawrence Jewry, to the Gentle- 
men of Wilts., 1654 : 1 Cbron. xii. 38—40. 

* See Arminian Mag., vol. ix., p. 672. 


4. A Funeral Sermon for the Rev. "W. Whitaker, 
1673 : Zech. i. 5, 6. 

5. Five Sermons in the Morning Exercises, 1674 to 


6. Funeral Sermon for the Rev. T. Brand, and account 
of his Life, 1692 : Josh. i. 2. 

7. He edited 4 vols, of the Morning Exercises, and 
wrote a preface to each of them.* 

8. He also wrote a preface to Mr. Richard Alleine's 
" Instructions about Heart- work ;" and joined with Dr. 
Owen in a preface to Mr. Elisha Cole's " Practical Trea- 
tise on God's Sovereignty." See Wood's Athenw, and 
Biog. Brit. 

His grandson, Mr. John "Wesley, has inserted a sermon 
in vol. xxxvi. of the Christian Library, on 1 Tim. v. 
22, How must we reprove, that we may not partake of 
other mens sins ?" which he attributes to Dr. Annesley : 
but this is a mistake, as it appears the sermon in ques- 
tion was delivered by Mr. Kitchen, of St. Mary Ab- 
church. And in vol. xxxviii. he attributes two others 
to him, — 1. On Universal Conscientiousness; Acts xxiv. 
16 : " And herein do I exercise myself," &c. 2. On 
How Ministers or Christian Friends may apply themselves 
to sick persons for their good, &c. ; Job xxxiii. 23, 24 : 
" If there be a messenger with him," &c. But both 
these were written by Mr. Matthew Pool, author of the 
Synopsis Criticorum.t But those in vol. xliv., — 1. On 

* It will be found, on examination, that Dr. Annesley only wrote 
three prefaces to the Morning Exercises, and not four, as stated 
above, and also by other writers. The preface to vol. iv. is by 
Nathaniel Vincent, 1675. — Editor. 

t Mr. Wesley, in thus attributing these two sermons to his 
grandfather, has followed Wood's Athena?, and Biog. Brit. By 
referring to Dr. Annesley's third sermon, in the third volume of the 

378 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

God"» Sovereignty our Support in all worldly Distrac- 
tions ;" Ps. xcvii. 1, 2: "The Lord reigneth; let the 
earth rejoice," &o. 2. The Hinderances and Helps to a 
Good Memory in Spiritual Things ; 1 Cor. xv. 2 : "By 
which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory," &c, 
were written by Dr. Annesley. See Palmer's Noncon- 
formists Memorial, vol. i., p. 127- 

Dr. Annesley was succeeded in Little St. Helen's, by 
Mr. "Woodhouse. 

As a writer, the doctor was lively and emphatic, and 
must have been a very useful preacher. The following 
extracts, taken at random from his sermon, On a good 
Memory in Spiritual Things" will prove this : — 

" Violent passions spoil the memory ; such as anger, 
grief, love, fear. Passions we must have ; but constitu- 
tion and education allay them in some, reason mode- 
rates them in others, and grace regulates them in all. 
Where these bridles are wanting, they shake all the 
faculties as an earthquake doth a country. For example : 
anger, when it rages, manifestly inflames the blood, and 
consequently the spirits, and melts off the impression in 
the brain, just as the fire melts the wax and the impres- 
sions that were fixed upon it. 

" Morning Exercises," on Eccles. vi. 11, 12, we shall find a striking 
coincidence of thought and expression, which would lead to a pre- 
ference of Mr. Wesley's opinion, unless a first or early impression 
of the sermons can be found with Pool's name prefixed to them as 
the author. " I began my Morning Exercises," says the doctor, 
" with this comprehensive case, How to be in all things, at all times, 
exactly conscientious ; and the supplement with this, How to attain 
and improve such love to God, as may influence all the graces, actions, 
and passages of our lives ; and now I would fain direct you, How to 
prevent or cure the vanity that is incident to every condition." Here 
is the germ of the sermons in question. — Editor. 


" A. multitude of undigested notions hurt the memory. 
If a man have a stock of methodical and digested know- 
ledge, it is admirable how much the memory will con- 
tain ; as you know how many images may be discerned 
at once in a glass. But when these notions are heaped 
incoherently in the memory, without order or depend- 
ance, they confound and overthrow the memory. Thus, 
many hear or read much, too much perhaps for their 
capacities ; they have not stowage for it ; and so they 
are ever learning, and never come to the knowledge of 
the truth. Therefore, look that you understand and digest 
things by meditation ; run not on too fast. He that rides 
post can never draw maps of the country. 

" Custom, or using your memories, is an excellent way 
of improving them. Thus many wise persons charge 
their memories at the present, and thereby strengthen 
them, and then commit what they have remembered to 
writing when they come home, that no time may wear it 
away. We say, Use legs, and have legs ; and so, use the 
memory, and have a memory. 

" If you oblige your children and your servants to 
bring you away an account of a sermon, you will see 
that use and custom will make it easy. I have seen an 
old man's girdle, who could not read a word, yet by the 
only help of the girdle which he wore, and which was 
hung about with some knotted points, he could bring 
home every particular of a sermon. 

"Due estimation is a help to the memory ; the more 
we love and admire any thing, the better we remember 
it. This is the reason given of children remembering 
things so well, because they admire every thing as being 
new to them. And of old people the saying is known, 
that they remember all such things as they care for : for 
when we esteem anything, the affections work upon the 

380 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

spirits, which are the instruments of the memory, and so 
seal things upon it. Why is it that a woman cannot 
forget her sucking child ? Because she doth vehemently 
love it ; and the like affection in us to good things would 
keep us from forgetting them." 

To this I shall add the first paragraph of his sermon 
on God's Sovereignty, from Ps. xcvii. 1, 2, "The Lord 
reigneth ; let the earth rejoice," &c. 

" The state of affairs is often so involved and confused, 
that we need not wonder if we see men of wisdom 
greatly perplexed in their spirits, and almost sunk into 
discouragement. The hest of men, whose hearts are 
most fortified with grace, would be of all others most 
subject to discomposure, were it not that they feel peace 
and comfort flowing into them from the remembrance 
and sweet consideration of a God above. What good 
man could have any tolerable enjoyment of himself, 
or possess his soul in patience, while he observes the 
irregular motions of things below ; the restlessness, 
tumblings, and tossings of the world ; desirable comforts 
and delights blasted in a moment ; afflictions and troubles 
breaking in with a sudden surprise; order quite sub- 
verted ; laws violated, and the edge of them turned 
against those that are faithful and peaceable in the land ; 
and all things indeed turned upside down, wickedness 
rampant, and religion oppressed? These things would 
soon break his heart, did he not see Him who is invisible, 
and firmly believe a wheel within a wheel ; an unseen 
hand which steadily and prudently guides and directs all 
things, keeping up a beautiful order, where reason can 
discern nothing but confusion." 



Dr. Annesley had several children — no less than 
twenty-five ! Dr. Manton baptizing one of them, and 
being asked how many children Dr. Annesley had ? he 
answered, he " believed it was two dozen, or a quarter 
of a hundred." The reckoning children by dozens is a 
singular circumstance, — an honour to which few persons 
ever arrive. Of this numerous family I have met with 
the names only of Samuel, Benjamin, Judith, Sarah, 
Ann, Elizabeth, and Susanna. 


Samuel went abroad in the service of the East India 
Company. He there accumulated a considerable fortune, 
and made frequent remittances to his family at home. 
He had borne strong testimony against the mismanage- 
ment and peculations of certain persons in the Company's 
service, which probably created him mortal enemies. 
Intending to return home, he wrote to his brother-in- 
law, Mr. Samuel Wesley, to purchase for him an estate of 
£200 or £300 per annum, somewhere between London 
and Oxford. But it seems he suddenly disappeared, and 
no account was ever received either of his person or 
property ! The very time of his coming home, and the 
ship by which he was to come, were announced ; and 
his sister, Mrs. Susanna Wesley, came to London, ex- 
pecting to meet him : but no brother appeared when the 
ship arrived! And all the information that was ever 
received was to this eifect : that he had gone up into the 
country, and was never heard of more !* There is most 

* When the noises were heard in the parsonage-house at Ep- 
worth, Mrs. Wesley supposed they betokened the death of her 
brother in India ; but it is certain that he was alive several years 
aftur those noises ceased at Epworth. 

382 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

certainly a mystery in this transaction, which it is pos- 
sible a future day may explain. Mr. John Wesley usee 
to say to his nephews, — " You are heirs to a large pro- 
perty in India, if you can find it out ; for my uncle is 
said to have been very prosperous." 

Mr. Annesley's conduct in India has met with public 
censure, though probably unmerited. In " Cope's His- 
tory of the East Indies" I find the following entry : 

" 1663, Sepr. Lord Mulbery arrived at Bombay, with 
Sir Abraham Shipman. The latter was the first En- 
glish governor of that island. 2d, Humphrey Cook. 
3d, Mr. Aungier, 1674. 4th, Sir John Child, bart, 1682. 
5th, John Vaux, 1690. Mr. Vaux was detained at Surat 
as a hostage, that the Mogul's Firman should not be in- 
fringed, while Mr. Harris and Mr. Annesley held the 
actual government; and in consequence of their mal- 
administration, Sir John Gayer was sent out in 1694, 
with the high title of Governor of all India. He con- 
tinued in the government beyond the year 1700, and 
was succeeded by Sir "Nicholas White." — East India 

I possess an original letter of this gentleman to his 
brother-in-law, the rector of Epworth ; which I shall 
here faithfully transcribe, in the hope that even this may 
be a means of casting some light on this dark aflair. 
The letter refers to transactions which were then tran- 
spiring in India, and which those conversant with India 
afiairs may easily comprehend. It seems to be written 
on purpose to vindicate himself from the above asper- 

" Brother Wesley, 
" Via Grand Caire, und cover of Mons r . Pelavoine, 
the Directore here for the B'rench Company (as in Feb. 
last), I wrote you ; which I can't copy, but extract. 



" I have been told 'twas the practice of S r . Nicholas 
White to bribe some of the Committee, thereby stifling 
all complaints against him. If you suspect that, declare 
t" the Company themselves what I have wrote, being of 
such vast importance at their Convention in April to 
chuse new Directors. Let them keep my salary, and 
the wreck's money (some thousands of pounds), till I 
prove what I write is true, or a great part of it ; if they 
will give me, as proposed, the power to do it. If you 
can get 2s. 9d. or 3s. the rupee, to be received in England, 
or interest of 5 per cent (as usual in bills drawn here on 
the Company) from the time I pay it, to payment to 
you and Mr. Eaton, I will give from 10 to 15,000 rupees 
to their order in Suratt ; if they'l let me invest it for 
'em in diamonds, I will faithfully serve 'em. Thus S r . 
S. Evance and the Jew Alvaro de Costa did to CapK 
Owen for his son's money. 

" I desired you to let out to commanders, &c, respon- 
sible persons, bound hither, £500 on each ship, and (if 
you can) to be invested by me, advising overland how 
much ; as in what goods. To procure what consignment 
you can to me, that I may have the laying out of most 
or part, if not all money brought hither ; which I think 
I can do cheaper and better than any one on the place. 
I write not so out of vanity or opinativeness. 

S r . S. Evance has a large packet enclosing Mr. Pen- 
nyng's account by the fleet, which pray desire of S r . 
Ceasar Child. If I am in the Company's service, pray 
desire S r . Ceasar Child to let me alone have the adjust- 
ment of his ace", with the Parracks, provided they are 
not to this time finisht. Mr. Aislabie is most unac- 
countably slow, remiss, and negligent of such an advan- 
tage; so deserves to have it slip his hands, as I have 
wrote him I believe it will. Besides, he never did nor 

384 . op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

can do any thing to conclude it; it has and will lye 
upon me. 

" If a good purchase offers between London and Ox- 
ford of 2 to £300 a year, I desire you to secure it for 
me against I come home, if God pleases. I would have 
it a healthy air, near a market-town and river ; somewhat 
woody ; no religious lands. I wil take care to send 
effects or bils to pay for it. 

" Mr. Wyche's broker told me it was concerted between 
his master and Rustum not to take my Nunsasee and 
Broach goods, that disposing of them other ways, I 
might lose, and meddle no more to interrupt 'em in 
his roguerys. A faithful servant of the Company. He 
tels me he has received a commission to be cherif broker, 
gave 2600 rupees to the governor to let Mr. "Wyche go 
to Bombay to show himself obedient to the Company's 
orders, but will speedily return with a general letter that 
'tis necessary to do so. He says the Gen 1 is for paying 
the old Company's debts, and Mr. Wyche has a mind to 
pay 'em here, both desiring to squeeze something from 
the creditors, and to ingratiate themselves with the Com- 
pany to make them take single (not compound) interest. 
But that won't do ; for then the Company must take 
single interest on their demands on the brokers, which 
will be a great loss. In the interim, who must pay the 
Company the interest of their money that lyes dead, — a 
vast sum when it shall be made up ! They owe me 
about thirty-Jive hundred pounds, besides my salary and 
the wreck's money : but I cannot get a groat of it til 
brought about said dishonourable intentions ; therefore, 
pray address the Court of Directors for their order to 
pay off my acc B . I have saved the old Company 36,200 
rupees in Viltul Parrack's demands on 'em, on which 5 
per cent, is due to me ; but I can't get it paid : the reason 


is plain, that getting nothing for my trouble, I may leave 
off. I was nine months contending with him. Pray get 
an order for it. Said broker says the English credit in 
these parts daily declines ; and his master by little and 
little wil venture (as the Dutch) to take a part of al 
goods he buys or sels for the Company, but in a private 
manner. As, suppose he sels copper at 14 rupees per 
m d . he'l credit 'em perhaps 13|, and so in other mer- 
chandize. Already (as before hinted) they have no re- 
gard to the Company's freights; provided the com- 
manders will let 'em buy their goods, for which they 
have 5 per cent, commission, they may as usual (as 
among the Dutch) bring or carry what they please, 
fraight free. 

" I could fil more than a quire of paper with these 
matters : but 'twil be in vain, if what I have wrote be 
not considered. I hinted to you, Mr. Samuel Sheppard 
was displeased with Mr. Proby for writing him of the 
great cheat in sale of the English broadcloth ; concerning 
which Mr. Proby may be subpoena'd in, and the Com- 
pany's Registry may be examin'd. Some matters may 
be erroneously inform'd, but I am satisfied as to the 
main 'tis true. I have heard Capt" Beawes gave 500 to 
command the Albermarle ; and scarce any thing is done 
without money, and every thing almost with it. 

" About Abdul Guffere's dispute with the Company 
(who seized their goods by a former governor, for those 
the pirates plundered from him, and restored 'em to the 
Gen 1 ) is, according to the best ace' (as yet I have got) 
as follows. Ibe sent to Sellimongee (a Moor, one of the 
greatest merchants in Town) to mediate with Mr. 
Wyche's broker, between the Gen 1 (who had seized his 
ships for payment) and him. He at first offered to pay 
450,000 rupees, and Sellimongee sent Mr. Wyche word 

386 of mb. Wesley's ancestors. 

he'd bring it to rupees 500,000: but he would nol 

hearken to him, nor Rustum tell him or the Gen 1 of id 
(as he sent me word) ; he'l at any time tel him to his 
face. But they applyed themselves to the Governor, 
gave him of it, as they pretend, 120,000 rupees, the 
fourth of 480,000, Rustum says, Abdul Guffere gave, 
(tho' he affirms he gave 482,000) and 63,950 to th< 
officers, which in the end I presume will be proved he. 
&c, shared among 'em ; so that for the 500,000 rupees, 
the Company might have had instantly paid down, thej 
hare by that villain, and &c.'s means, rec d but 296,950, 
with large charges besides. I have often wrote th« 
Gen 1 for the ace', that there is a great cheat in't, but cat 
get no answer. Pray does he not give sufficient groundf 
to suspect he has had a part of it ? I have a hundred 
times, to no purpose, desired the same of Mr. Wyche. 

" Sam. Annesley." 
Suratt, March 13, 1712-3. 

Endorsed. " Sam 1 Annesley, to the Rev*. Sam 1 Wes- 
ley, Mar. 13, 1712-3." 

In the hands of a good investigator, this letter mighi 
lead to some discovery relative to the end of Mr. Annes- 
ley, and where his properly has been left, and who hat 
possessed it. That there were nefarious transactions in 
the management of the Company's concerns at that timet 
the above letter sufficiently states ; and that Mr. Annes- 
ley's honesty might have led to his ruin, is a possible 
case. That he should disappear and never more be 
heard of, and that his property should all have been 
lost, are mysteries which probably at this distance of 
time cannot entirely be cleared up : but some discovery- 
may yet be made. 

In Dunton's Conversations in Ireland, extracts from 


which are published by Mr. Nichols, with the Life and 
Errors, p. 570, I meet with the following observation : 
" I told the lieutenant of, my brother Annesley's death ; 
at which he was highly concerned." Whether this may 
refer to Samuel or not, I am unable now to determine. 

Prom the preceding letter, we find that Mr. Annesley 
wished to employ his brother-in-law, the rector of Ep- 
worth, to transact some business in his behalf with the 
East India Company ; and Mr. Wesley appears to have 
undertaken the office : but owing to his natural easiness, 
and too great confidence in the promises of men, the 
business was neglected, and had no favourable issue ; at 
which Mr. Annesley was greatly offended, transferred 
the agency into another hand, and wrote a severe letter 
to his sister, Mrs. Wesley, in which he most liberally 
blamed the conduct of his brother-in-law. A part only 
of Mrs. Wesley's answer to her angry brother has fallen 
into my hands ; but I am happy to find that a complete 
copy has been found among Mr. Wesley's papers, at 
present in the hands of the Rev. H. Moore :* from this 
I shall supply the deficiency in that which I had before 
published. This letter is worthy of insertion, as it 
shows her good sense, great modesty, and faithful at- 
tachment to her husband. 

To Mr. Annesley. 


"The unhappy differences between you and Mr. 

Wesley have prevented my writing for some years, not 

knowing whether a letter from me would be acceptable, 

and being unwilling to be troublesome. But feeling life 

ebb apace, and having a desire to be at peace with all 

men, especially you, before my exit, I have ventured to 

• Life of Wesley, vol. i, p. 564. 


388 of mr. Wesley's ancestors. 


send one letter more, hoping you will give yourself the 
trouble to read it without prejudice. 

" I am, I believe, got on the right side of fifty, infirm 
and weak ; yet old as I am, since I have taken my hus- 
band " for better, for worse," I'll take my residence witl 
him. " Where he lives, will I live ; and where he dies, 
will I die ; and there will I be buried. God do so unto 
me, and more also, if aught but death part him and me.' 
Confinement is nothing to one that, by sickness, is com- 
pelled to spend great part of her time in a chamber 
and I sometimes think, that if it were not on account 
of Mr. Wesley and the children, it would be perfectlj 
indifferent to my soul, whether she ascended to th« 
supreme Origin of being from a jail or a palace, for God 
is every where. 

' No walls, nor locks, nor bars, nor deepest shade, 
Nor closest solitude excludes his presence ; 
And in what place soever he vouchsafes 
To manifest his presence, there is heaven.' 

And that man whose heart is penetrated with divine 
love, and enjoys the manifestations of God's blissful 
presence, is happy, let his outward condition be what it 
will. He is rich, as having nothing, yet possessing all 
things. This world, this present state of things, is but 
for a time. What is now future will be present, as what 
is already past once was; and then, as Mr. Pascal ob 
serves, a little earth thrown on our cold head will foi 
ever determine our hopes and our condition; nor will 'I 
signify much who personated the prince or the beggar, 
since, with respect to the exterior, all must stand on the 
same level after death. 

" Upon the best observation I could ever make, I am 
induced to believe, that it is much easier to be contented 


without riches than with them. It is so natural for a 
rich man to make his gold his god (for whatever a person 
loves most, that thing, be it what it will, he will cer- 
tainly make his god) ; it is so very difficult not to trust 
in, not to depend on it, for support and happiness, that 
I do not know one rich man in the world with whom I 
would exchange conditions. 

" You say, ' I hope you have recovered your loss by 
fire long since.' No; and, it is to be doubted, never 
shall. Mr. Wesley rebuilt his house in less than one 
year ; but nearly thirteen years are elapsed since it was 
burned, yet it is not half furnished, nor his wife and 
children half clothed to this day. It is true, that by 
the benefactions of his friends, together with what he 
had himself, he paid the first ; but the latter is not paid 
yet, or, what is much the same, money which was bor- 
rowed for clothes and furniture is yet unpaid. You go 
on: ' My brother's living of three hundred a year, as the)' 
tell me.' They : who ? I wish those who say so were 
compelled to make it so. It may as truly be said that 
his living is ten thousand a year as three hundred. I 
have, Sir, formerly laid before you the true state of our 
affairs. I have told you, that the living was always let 
for a hundred and sixty pounds a-year. That taxes, 
poor assessments, sub-rents, tenths, procurations, synod- 
als, &c, took up nearly thirty pounds of that moiety ; 
so that there needs no great skill in arithmetic to com- 
pute what remains. 

" What we shall or shall not need hereafter, God only 
knows ; but at present there hardly ever was a greater 
coincidence of unprosperous events in one family than 
is now in ours. I am rarely in health. Mr. Wesley 
declines apace. My dear Emily, who in my present 
exigencies would exceedingly comfort me, is compelled 


390 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

to gO to service in Lincoln, where she is a teacher in a 
boarding-school. My second daughter, Sukey, a pretty 
woman, and worthy a better fate, when, by your last 
unkind letters, she perceived that all her hopes in yqu 
were frustrated, rashly threw away herself upon a man 
(if a man he may be called, who is little inferior to the 
apostate angels in wickedness) that is not only her 
plague, but a constant affliction to the family. sir! 

brother ! Happy, thrice happy are yon, happy is my 
sister, that buried your children in infancy J secure from 
temptation, secure from guilt, secure from want or 
shame, or loss of friends! They are safe beyond the 
reach of pain or sense of misery : being gone hence, 
nothing can touch them further. Believe me, sir, it is 
better to mourn ten children dead than one Irving ; and 

1 have buried many. But here I must pause awhile. 

" The other children, though wanting neither industry 
nor capacity for business, we cannot put to any, by 
reason we have neither money nor friends to assist us in 
doing it. Nor is there a gentleman's family near us in 
which we can place them, unless as common servants ; 
and that even yourself would not think them fit for, if 
you saw them ; so that they must stay at home, while 
they have a home ; and how long will that be ? Innu- 
merable are other uneasinesses, too tedious to mention ; 
insomuch that, what with my own indisposition, my 
master's infirmities, the absence of my eldest, the ruin of 
my second daughter, and the inconceivable distress of 
all the rest, I have enough to turn a stronger head than 
mine. And were it not that God supports, and by his 
omnipotent goodness often totally suspends all sense of 
worldly things, I could not sustain the weight many 
days, perhaps hours. But even in this low ebb of for- 
tune, I am not without some kind interval. Unspeak- 


able are the blessings of privacy and leisure ; when the 
mind emerges from the corrupt animality to which she 
is united, and by a flight peculiar to her nature;, soars 
beyond the bounds of time and place, in contemplation 
of the Invisible Supreme, whom she perceives to be her 
only happiness, her proper centre ; in whom she finds 
repose inexplicable, such as the world can neither give 
nor take away. 

" The late archbishop of York once said to me (when 
my.master was in Lincoln castle) among other things, 
'Tell me,' said he, 'Mrs. Wesley, whether you ever 
really wanted bread?" My lord, said I, I will freely 
own to your grace that, strictly speaking, I never did 
want bread. But then, I had so much care to get it 
before it was eat, and to pay for it after, as has often 
made it very unpleasant to me. And I think to have 
bread on such terms is the next degree of wretchedness 
to having none at all. ' You are certainly in the right,' 
replied my lord, and seemed for a while very thoughtful. 
Next morning he made me a handsome present; nor 
did he ever repent having done so. On the contrary/, I 
have reason to believe it afforded him comfortable re- 
flections before his exit." 

Mrs. Wesley, having stated to her brother, that in all 
his transactions her husband had acted with a clear con- 
science, both before God and man, she proceeds to notice 
*be blame cast on him by Mr. Annesley, and adds : — 

"These things are unkind, very unkind. Add not 
misery to affliction : if you will not reach out a friendly 
hand to support, yet, I beseech you, forbear to throw 
water on a people already sinking. 

" But I shall go on with your letter to me. You pro- 
ceed : ' When I come home'— Oh, would to God that 
might ever be !— ' should any of your daughters want 

392 of me. wesley's ancestors: 

me'«— as I think they will not — ' I shall do as God ena- 
bles me !' — I must answer this with a sigh from the 
bottom of my heart. Sir, you know the proverb, ' While 
the grass grows, the steed starves.' 

" That passage relating to Ansley I have formerly 
replied to ; therefore I'll pass it over, together with some 
hints I am not willing to understand. You go on : — 

" ' My brother has one invincible obstacle to my busi- 
ness, his distance from London.' — Sir, youjnay please to 
remember, I put you in mind of this long since. — ' An- 
other hinderance, I think he is too zealous for the party 
he fancies in the right; and has unluckily to do with 
the opposite faction.' — Whether those you employ are 
factious or not, I'll not determine ; but very sure I am, 
Mr. Wesley is not so ; he is zealous in a good cause, as 
every one ought to be, but the farthest from being a 
party man of any man in the world. — ' Another remora 
is, these matters are out of his' way.' — That is a remora 
indeed, and ought to have been considered on both sides 
before he entered on your business ; for I am verily per- 
suaded that that, and that alone, has been the cause of 
any mistakes or inadvertency he has been guilty of, and 
the true reason why God has not blessed him with 
desired success. — ' He is apt to rest upon deceitful pro- 
mises.' — Would to heaven that neither he, nor I, nor 
any of our children, had ever trusted to deceitful pro- 
mises. But it is a right hand error, and I hope God 
will forgive us all. — ' He wants Mr. Eaton's thrift' — 
This I can readily believe. — ' He is not fit for worldly 
business.' — This I likewise assent to, and must own I 
was mistaken when I did think him fit for it : my own 
experience hath since convinced me that he is one of 
those who, our Saviour saith, ' are not so wise in their 
generation as the children of this world.' And did I 


not know that Almighty Wisdom hath views and ends, 
in fixing the hounds of our habitation, which are out of 
our ken, I should think it a thousand pities that a man 
of his brightness, and rare endowments of learning and 
useful knowledge, in relation to the church of God, 
should be confined to an obscure corner of the country, 
where his talents are buried, and he determined to a 
way of life for which he is not so well qualified as I 
could wish ; and it is with pleasure that I behold in my 
eldest son an aversion from accepting a small country 
cure ; since, blessed be God ! he has a fair reputation 
for learning and piety, preaches well, and is capable of 
doing more good where he is. You conclude : — ' My 
wife will make my cousin Emily.' — It was a small and 
insignificant present to my sister indeed ; but, poor girl, 
it was her whole estate ; and if it had been received as 
kindly as it was meant, she would have been highly 

" I shall not detain you any longer, not so much as to 
apologize for the tedious length of this letter. 

• I should be glad if my service could be made ac- 
ceptable to my sister; to whom, with yourself, the chil- 
dren tender their humblest duty. "We all join in wishing 
rou a happy new year, and very many of them, 
/ " Your obliged and most obedient 

" servant and sister, 

" Susannah "Wesley." 
Eprvorth, Jan. 20th, 1721-2. 
My birth-day. 

From the above letter we find that Mr. Samuel Annes- 
ley was alive at Surat in 1722, seven years after the 
noises had ceased at the parsonage-house at Epworth ; 

394 of mr. wesley's ancestors. 

which Mrs. Wesley had supposed portended his death. 
In the year 1724, it was reported that Mr. Annesley 
was coming home in one of the Company's ships. Mrs. 
Wesley, hearing the news, came up from Epworth to 
London, to meet him: but the report was incorrect. 
This is the last mention I find of Mr. Samuel Annesley 
in any of the family papers which have come under my 
notice. Nor is there any certainty when he died. We 
know he was alive in 1712, and possibly in 1720 or 
1721. Mrs. Wesley's letter to him is dated Jan. 20, 
1722; his, to which it is an answer, was most probably 
written in 1720. It is said that his wife survived him, 
and that "she left £1000 to Mrs. Wesley, the interest to 
be paid her during her life, and at her decease the princi- 
pal sum to be divided among the children." Howsoever 
left, there is no evidence that this money ever came into 
the family. They had large expectations, built on Mr. 
Annesley's promises, which were never realized; and 
hence that saying of Mr. J. Wesley to his nephews, 
already mentioned : " You are heirs to a large property 
in India, if you can find it out ; for my uncle is said to 
have been very prosperous." 

Of Benjamin Annesley I have not been able to col- 
lect any particulars. He was appointed an executor of 
his father's will, and came into possession of one-third 
of his property. 

Dunton, speaking of him, says, " That grateful and 
most ingenuous youth, Ben Annesley ;" a form of ex- 
pression highly complimentary to character, both moral 
and intellectual. 

Of Miss Sarah Annesley I find nothing on record 
except her name, mentioned in one of her sister Eliza- 

dr. annesley's children. 395 

beth's letters to Mr. Dunton, inserted in his Life and 
Errors, p. 68. 

Of Miss Judith Annesley, Mr. Dunton, her brother- 
in-law, gives the following character : " She is a virgin 
of eminent piety. Good books (above all, the book of 
books) are her sweetest entertainment; and she finds 
more comfort there than others do in their wardrobe. In 
a word, she keeps a constant watch over the frame of 
her soul and the course of her actions by daily and strict 
examination of both." 

There is a painting of her in the family of Mr. Charles 
Wesley, probably by Sir Peter Lely, where she is repre- 
sented as a very beautiful woman. A gentleman of 
splendid fortune paid his addresses to her, and the 
attachment was mutual ; but when she perceived that he 
was addicted to much wine, she utterly refused to marry 
him, and died single. 

Of Miss Ann Annesley, Mr. Dunton, her brother-in- 
law, gives the following character : " To drop her pious 
character would be ungrateful. She is a wit for certain ; 
and however Time may have dealt by her, Art never 
feigned, nor Nature formed, a finer woman." 

This lady was afterwards married to Mr. James Fro- 
mantle, and had a son, named Annesley Fromantle, who 
was educated for the ministry at the College of Glasgow. 
— Wilson's History, vol. i., p. 370. I conclude this is 
correct, from the following observation of Dunton's, in 
his Characters of Eminent Persons : " Madam Fromantle 
(my sister before her advancement) is the only person I 
ever knew whom an estate made more humble and con- 
descending. Her life is one continued act of tenderness, 
wit, and piety." — p. 358. 

396 op mr. Wesley's ancestors. 

We have already seen that Miss Elizabeth Annesley 
was married to Mr. John Dunton, the eccentric book- 
seller, Aug. 3, 1682. She appears to have been very 
eminent, both for piety and good sense. Dunton ha: 
shown his attachment to her by the account he published 
of her death, and some extracts which he gives from her 
papers found after her death. 

That Elizabeth Dunton was the daughter of Dr. Samuel 
Annesley, was not less her honour than her happiness ; 
and of this care of Providence, she discovers, in her 
private papers, a very grateful sense. 

Religion had made early impressions on her mind. 
The new life had sprung up by such insensible degrees, 
that, like her noble and reverend father, she knew not 
the time of her being turned to the wisdom of the just. 

Her bible was the great companion and pleasure of 
her life; and she was so well acquainted with it, that 
no portion of it could be mentioned which she could not 
refer to the book, chapter, and verse, in which it might 
be found. 

Dunton describes her as being tall, of a good aspect, 
with dark eyes, and of a fair complexion. She had that 
solid but ready wit, that rendered her conversation very 
desirable. It is said she never gave any one an ill worl 
when absent, nor when present commended them. Li 
short, she was an agreeable acquaintance, a trusty friend, 
and mistress of all those graces that could be desired to 
make a woman complete. When Mr. Dunton com- 
menced business, he says, "She gave me an early spe- 
cimen of her prudence and diligence that way, and 
thereupon commenced bookseller, cash-keeper, managed 
all my affairs, and left me entirely to my own rambling 
and scribbling humours." Her piety and conjugal affec- 
tion are strongly evinced in the following extract from 

DR. annesley's children. 397 

one of her letters to her husband, dated, London, May 14, 
1686 : " I was very much overjoyed for your safe arrival 
at Boston, though much troubled for your illness in the 
way to it. Those mercies are the sweetest that we enjoy 
after waiting and praying for them. I pray God help 
us both to improve them to his glory. If there is any 
encouragement for settling in New England, I will joy- 
fully come over to you. Pray God to direct you what 
to do ; and in the mean time, take care of your "health, 
and want for nothing. I had rather have your company 
with bread and water, than enjoy, without you, the 
riches of both Indies ; but I must conclude, begging of 
God to keep you from the sins and temptations which 
every place and every condition expose us to. So, 
wishing you a speedy and safe voyage back again to 
England, I remain yours, beyond expression." At 
another time she writes to him, " Be cheerful ; want for 
nothing ; doubt not but God will provide for us. Now 
is the time for us to live a life of faith, to depend wholly 
upon him ; for he never yet disappointed any that put 
their trust in him." — Life and Errors, pp. 68, 79, 93, 
and 144. 

She had an amiable disposition, and a heart full of 
charity to all who differed from her in their religious 
opinions. She was a considerable proficient even in 
polemical divinity, and had acquainted herself well with 
the controversy on Original Sin, and the effects of it on 
the faculties of the soul, on Free-will, Foreknowledge, 
Grace, the Eevealed and Secret Will of God, &c. Upon 
this last subject she writes, " I will obey God's revealed 
will, and adore his secret will ; rest upon his promises, 
and cast myself at the feet of Christ, attentive to my 
present duty. The belief of God's foreknowledge, or 
his decreeing whatsoever comes to pass, should not 


binder me from duty, but render me diligent in it. I 
ought to do more for my soul than my body ; and re- 
specting the latter, though I know not what food may 
nourish it, or what medicines relieve, I will not neglect 
the means." 

She owned that repentance is the gift of God, and 
that sin cannot be pardoned bat through the blood, the 
merits, and intercession of Christ Jesus ; and that no 
spiritual act can be performed without divine assistance. 

In a diary kept by her for twenty years, the gracious 
state of her mind was particularly pointed out : but so 
far was she from vain glory, that in her last illness she 
entreated her husband to burn those large collections ; 
and it was with difficulty he obtained her permission for 
Mr. Sogers, who preached her funeral sermon, to extract 
those passages which he has inserted in the discourse, 
entitled, " The Character of a Good Woman, preached 
on the Death of Mrs. Elizabeth Dunton." Her reflections 
on a bed of sickness her husband published in the Post 
Angel, for Feb. 1701, and in Turner's Folio, p. 37, the 
latter of which I have not seen. 

She was a great lover of solitude, because it gave her 
tile opportunity of conversing with God and her own 
heart. But this did not infringe on the public means of 
grace, or public duties. Public worship, sermons, sab- 
baths, and sacraments were her refreshments on her way 
to glory. On one of these occasions she wrote, " O how 
should the thought of free unmerited grace fill us with 
love to God ! I am filled with joy inexpressible, and 
with hope full of glory ! What amazing love, that God 
should give his Son to die for sinners ! That he should 
become man, and not have where to lay his head, when 
he came to enrich the world! Blessed God! at this 
sacrament I cannot take a denial of thy presence : I 

DR. annksley's children. 399 

come to meet my God ; I cannot be comforted without 

Her husband observes, "Her conjugal affection was 
as remarkable as the rest of her character. Her happi- 
ness seemed wrapped up in mine ; our interests and our 
inclinations were the same. When affairs were per- 
plexing, she never discovered uneasiness ; she made use 
of means, and left the issue to Providence. "When I 
happened to be ill, she was much concerned ; and would 
impair her own health rather than permit any one else 
to wait on me. I never went home, and found her out 
of temper. But heaven had a greater interest in her 
than I could have : she was my better half; but I knew 
my property in her was not absolute. 

" In her last illness, which continued seven months, 
she never uttered one repining word ; and was always 
willing to depart and to be with God." About a month 
previous to her death, her husband being from home, 
she wrote to him as follows : " Though God has exer- 
cised me with a long and languishing sickness, and my 
grave lies in view, yet he hath dealt tenderly with me, 
so that I find by experience no compassions are like 
those of a God. It is true, I have scarce strength to 
answer your letter ; but seeing you desire a few lines, I 
will attempt something. As you desire to lie with me 
in the same grave, so I hope we shall be happy together 
hereafter, in the enjoyment of the beatific vision, and in 
the knowledge of one another; for I agree with you, 
that we shall know our friends in heaven. "Wise and 
learned men of all ages, and several Scriptures, plainly 
show it ; though I verily believe, was there none but 
God and one saint in heaven, that saint would be per- 
fectly happy, so as to desire no more. But, whilst on 
earth, we may lawfully please ourselves with hopes of 



meeting hereafter. I shall only add my hearty prayer 
that God would' bless you, both in soul and body ; anc 
that when you die, you may be conveyed by angels intc 
Abraham's bosom; where I hope you will find youi 
tender and dutiful," &c. &c. " Through the whole o: 
her sickness," continues her husband, " she declared she 
had no doubt upon her mind as to her eternal happiness 
When near death she said to one who stood by, ' Heaver 
will make amends for all. In a short time I shall be 
happy. I have good ground to hope that when I die. 
I shall, through Christ, be blessed, for I dedicated mj 
youth to God.' 

" "When I saw her departing, and was overwhelmed 
with sorrow, she said, with sweetness, ' Do not be sc 
concerned at parting, for I trust we shall meet where we 
shall part no more. Yet it is a solemn thing to die. 
whatever men may think of it. O this eternity ! There 
is no time for preparing for heaven like the time oi 
youth. Though death be near, I can look back with 
joy on some of the early years I sweetly spent in my 
father's house ; and think how comfortably I lived there. 
What a mercy to be dedicated to God betimes.' 

" When her soul was just fluttering on her lips, she 
exclaimed, 'Lord, pardon my sins, and perfect me in 
holiness ! Accept of praises for the mercies I have re- 
ceived, and fit me for whatsoever thou wilt do with me, 
for Christ's sake !' 

"A little after this she fell asleep in Jesus, on the 
28th of May, 1697 ;" and her remains were interred in 
Bunhill-fields, agreeably to her request. 

In all the Annesley family, of which we have any 
particulars, we see the truth of that word, " Train up a 
child in the way he should go, and when he is old he 

dr. annesley's children. 401 

will not depart from it." A pious education is next, in 
efficiency, to the all-powerful grace of Christ. 

The Annesley and Wesley families are striking proofs 
of this ! How many thousands perish for want of a 
pious example and religious instruction in the house of 
their parents ! 


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